Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Jews Oppose Israeli Policy in Gaza

"We Shall Not Be a Party to Their Counsel!"

As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.

As Americans, we protest the carte blanche given Israel by the US government to pursue a war of "national honor," "restoring deterrence," "destroying Hamas," and "searing Israel's military might into the consciousness of the Gazans."

As progressives, we reject the same justifications for the carnage that we heard ad nauseam from the supporters of the Second Iraq War: the so-called "war on terror," the "clash of civilizations," the "need to re-establish deterrence" – all of which served to justify a misguided and unnecessary war, with disastrous consequences for America and Iraq.

But as Jews of different religious persuasions, from Orthodox to secular atheist, we are especially horrified that a state that purports to speak in our name wages a military campaign that has killed over 1,400 people, a large percentage of them civilians, children, and non-combatants, with little or no consideration for human rights or the laws of war.

While the moral and legal issue concerning Israel's right to respond militarily in these circumstance can be debated, there is near-universal agreement that its conduct of the military operation has been unjust and even criminal – with only the usual apologists for the Jewish state disagreeing.

As Jews, we stand united with another Israel, the patriarch Jacob, who cursed his sons Simeon and Levi for massacring the people of Shechem in revenge for the rape of their sister Dinah. Like Jacob, "we shall not be a party to the counsel of zealots. We shall not be counted in their assembly. (See Genesis 34. 49: 5-7).

As Jews, we stand united with the Jewish sages who rejected the zealotry of the Jewish "terrorists" at Masada, those who masked ethnic tribalism in the cloak of "self-defense" and "national honor."

As Jews, we listen not only when the sage Hillel says, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" but also when he says, "If I am only for myself, what am I?" Hillel's closing words also ring true in this hour of decision when a full resolution of conflict is demanded of both sides: "If not now, when?"

Finally, as American Jewish progressives, and as human beings, we condemn Hamas and Israel for violating the human rights of civilians on both sides, although we do not necessarily declare these violations to be morally or legally equivalent. We affirm the rights of both Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination and self-defense, as we affirm the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sign the statement
Support the statement

Signers (affiliation for identification purposes only):

Rabbi Leonard Beerman
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Rabbi Rebecca Lillian
Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak
Tony Judt, NYU
Howard Zinn, Boston Univ.
Noam Chomsky, MIT
Brian Leiter, Wilson Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago
Daniel Boyarin, UC Berkeley
Irena Klepfisz, Barnard College
Adam Rubin, PhD, HUC-JIR (Los Angeles)
Mark Le Vine, UC Irvine
Daniel Garber, Princeton, Philosophy dept. chair
Ned Block, Silver Professor, NYU
Gideon Rosen, Princeton
Matthew Noah Smith, Yale
Aryeh Cohen, PhD, American Jewish University
Ilya Kliger, New York University
Aaron Greenberg, Univ. of Chicago
Paul Loeb
Alice Rothschild
Murray Polner, former editor, Present Tense
Larry Yudelson
Jerome Slater, SUNY Buffalo
Joanne Yaron, World Meretz
Chana Bloch, UC Berkeley
Marilyn Hacker, CCNY
Rita Karuna Cahn, UC San Francisco
Nance Goldstein, University of Southern Maine
Gordon Fellman, Brandeis Univ.
Harry Mairson, Brandeis University
David L. Green, University of Illinois
Stephanie Sieburth, Duke
Priscilla Wald, Duke
E. James Lieberman, M.D., George Washington University School of Medicine
Norbert Hornstein, University of Maryland
David Auerbach, Univ. of N. Carolina, Raleigh
Joseph Levine, Univ. of Mass., Amherst
Shari Stone-Mediatori, Ohio Wesleyan Univ.
Ido Roll, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Philip Wadler, University of Edinburgh
Assaf Oron, Univ. of Wash.
Clare Solomon, Washington Univ.
Judith Norman, Trinity Univ.
Steven Bell, Berry College
Charles Manekin, Univ. of Maryland
Yale Strom, UC San Diego
Ira Glunts, Morrisville State College
Merle Bachman, Spalding University
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam
Dan Fleshler, Realistic Dove
Dan Sieradski, Orthodox Anarchist
Adrienne Cooper
Steven R. Shalom, William Paterson University
Bram Hubbell, Friends Seminary

Ilana Abramovitch, Ph.D.
Kate Abramson
David Adler
Dina Afek
Delmas and Sally Allen
Tracy Allen
Marshall Ansell
Paul Ansell
Harry Appelman
Darwin Aronoff
Jesse Bacon
Sonia M. Baku
Walter Ballin
Adam Barolsky
Kathy Barolsky
Tsela Barr
David Basior
Elliott Battzedek
Elizabeth Biele
Peter Belmont
Nicolas M. Benacerraf
Lori Berlin
Judith Berlowitz, Ph.D
Murray & Marcia Bernstein
Nancy Bernstein
David Eugene Blank
Alan L. Blitz
Hedy Bookin-Weiner
Elisa Bowyer
Sallye Steiner Bowyer
Dennis Brasky
China Brotsky
Ellen Brotsky
Robert Browne
Patricia Carmeli

Rina Chomsky
Liza DiPrima Cibula
Drew Cohen
G. Sherman Cole
Mariani Didyk
Pioter Drubetskoy
Elana Dykewomon
Bacia Edelman
Carole Edelsky, PhD
Steven R. Edelstein
Dr. Amy Eisenberg, Center for World Indigenous Studies
Lynne Eisenberg
Liz Elkind
David M. Ellis Ph.D
Anita E. Feldman
Andrew Felluss
Micah Fenner
Sarah Bendiner Fenner
Eva Ferrero
Raya Fidel
George Figdor
Daniel Fisher
Terry Fletcher
Dr. Chris Fox
Stephen Saperstein Frug
Racheli Gai
Ellen Garvey
Doris Gelbman
Myles Gideon
Jim Glionna
Roberta Gold
Mary Goldman
Daniel Goldstein
Julius Gordon
Sarah Gordon
Bruce Gould
Jessica Greenbaum
Kathy Grisham
Sherrl Grosse Yanowitz Rogall
Kay Halpern
Tony and Hillary Hamburger
Lawrence R. Hamilton
Peter Handler
Paul J Heckler
Wendy Hartley
Glen Hauer
Katherine Herman
Dr. Annette Herskovits
Hanna J. Hoffman, PhD
Jack Holtzman
Rebecca Hughes
Nomi Hurwitz
Spencer Jarrett
Rachel Kahn-Troster
Barbara S. Kane, PhD, LCSW
Ilene Kantrov
Wendy Kaufmyn
Aimée Kligman
Susie Kneedler
Judith Kolokoff
Steve Kowit
Rebecca S. Krantz, PhD
Terry Krieger
Seth Kulick
Judith Laitman
Sheldon H. Laskin
Betsy Lawrence
Mirna Lawrence
David Leipziger
Jack Leiss
Howard Lenow
Oded Adomi Leshem
Yossi Levanoni
Jeremy Levick
John F. Levin
Rebekah Levin
Joan Levitt
Mary-Lee Lutz
Marsha C. Manekin
Richard Manekin
Gideon Manning
Vered Meir
Yitzhak Y Melamed
Marji Mendelsohn
Alan Meyers
Gert Meyers
Katya Miller
Sherin Miller
Susan Miller
Daniel Millstone
Sarah Anne Minkin
Cary Moskovitz
Rick Nagin
Dorothy Naor
Germana Nijim
Sara Norman
Joel Dansky
Henry Norr

Leonard Bruce Novick
Diane O'Bannon
Elijah Oberman
Miller Oberman
Abigail Okrent
Benjamin Orbach
Dr. Stephen Oren
Tova Perlmutter
Karen Platt
Lynn Pollack
Dr. Betty Potash
Harriet Putterman
Avi Rab
Steve Raphael
Joyce Ravitz
Susan Ravitz
Deb Reich
Avram Rips
Mara Rivera
Lee Robinson
Danny Rochman
Jennifer Rose
Dorah Rosen
Ellen Rosner
Sue Rouda
Novelle Saarinen
Lawrence Saltzman
Meg Sandow
Linda Siegel Sang
Marlena Santoyo
Karl Schaffer, PhD
Cindy Shamban
Wendy Scher
Madeline Schleimer
Eugene Schulman
Kayla Schwarz
Janet Settle
Alexander Shalom
Alexi Shalom
Jessica Shalom Greenberg
Lee Sharkey
Nance Shatzkin
Dr Peter Sheridan
Brian S Sherman
Meryl Siegal
David Siegel
Jessica Siegel
Rich Siegel
Earl Silbar
Marc Silverstein
Shayna Silverstein
Esther P. Simon
Miriam Simos (Starhawk)
Jeffrey Sklansky
Laura Sklarsky
Jerome Slater
Kathrin Smith
Daniel Sniderman
Louisa Rachel Solomon
Talli Somekh
Nicole Witte Solomon
Dr. Wendy Elisheva Somerson
Doug Sparling
Tova Stabin
Neta Stahl
Aaron Stark
Burton Steck
Jane Stein
Mark Stenzler
Mae Stephen
Lynne Strieb
Danny Stone
Robert Stone
Shirley Stone
Debbie Stone-Bruell
Uri Strauss
Leslie Sudock
Yaakov Sullivan
Michele Sumka
Cecilie Surasky
Lois Swartz
Doug Tarnopol
Amir & Roni Terkel
David Tostenson
Theodore Warmbrand
Tom Weltsch
Janis G. White
Michael Winograd
Robin Winogrond
Rachel Farrell Wofsy
Bruce Wolman, MD
Ellen Zaltzberg
Michael J. Zigmond

  

41 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

I am somewhat confused by this...it says that both the Jewish people and the Palestinians have a "right to self-determination", but I see Tony Judt and Noam Chomsky there and they are radical anti-Zionists, so what are they trying to say?

Jerry Haber said...

Y. Ben David.

Judt and Chomsky "radical anti-Zionists"? Puleeze!

Chomsky famously -- one may say notoriously, taking into consideration his left-wing critics -- supports a two-state solution. Neither of them had problems with that part of the statement. I doubt they would consider themselves political Zionists, but I am unaware that they ever have written along the lines of classical reform anti-Zionism, that the Jews don't constitute a people and that Judaism is a religion.

Judt simply raises the question -- as does everybody now -- whether the two state solution is viable. And if it is not, wouldn't it be better to consider alternate solutions. I am sure you agree with him on that.

The person who had problem with the self-determination line was Prof. Daniel Boyarin. But he signed it, nevertheless, because he agreed with most of the sentiments expressed.

Also, "self-determination" does not imply statehood. That is an important point. There are other ways for peoples to find self-determination. A binational state, for example, could provide self-determination.

Anonymous said...

Precisely what "laws of war" do you claim Israel violated in Gaza, what is your evidence for these violations, what treaties or legal precedents can you cite to support your claim, are you aware of legal authorities that disagree with your interpretation of international law, and under what legal theory is Israel bound by whatever particular international law principle that you are purporting to apply (e.g., if you are citing a treaty that Israel specifically declined to be a party to)?

Ohad said...

I think all who signed this should be ashamed of themselves. This is clearly a biased, anti-zionist article. The Israeli attack wasn't just "following years of Israeli occupation etc" it was also following years of terrorist attacks and rocket launches from Gaza. Up until the last paragraph you do not mention that Palestinian responsibility to the situation. While you might disagree with the military action and the killing, you should not be distorting the truth.

Jerry Haber said...

Anonymous

I know of two positions. The first says that Israel's war on Gaza was completely illegal from the get-go, that Israel had no right under Article 51 of the UN charter to react militarily to the rocket fire.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5488380.ece


Please note the distinguished legal authorities.

There are those who think that Israel had the legal right to attack Gaza, as a result of the rocket attacks, but that its subsequent conduct of the war was illegal.

See: http://balkin.blogspot.com/2009/01/is-gaza-war-legal.html

It is Luban's view that even though the initial retaliation was legal, it was not moral. And the conduct of the war was neither

I know of no legal expert who is not Israeli who thinks that the conduct of the war was legal. Maybe there are a few, and I would be happy to read their work.

Jerry Haber said...

"I think all who signed this should be ashamed of themselves. This is clearly a biased, anti-zionist article."

What does Zionism have to do with it?

"The Israeli attack wasn't just "following years of Israeli occupation etc" it was also following years of terrorist attacks and rocket launches from Gaza."

Yes, indeed, brought on by the occupation and the siege, and were that siege lifted, the cease-fire would have held. The cease-fire held more or less until Israel violated it massively on Nov. 4 -- waiting for the US elections, apparently, in order not to be noticed.

"Up until the last paragraph you do not mention that Palestinian responsibility to the situation. While you might disagree with the military action and the killing, you should not be distorting the truth."

I don't think the Palestinians are primarily responsible for the situation. It was not the rocket fire that caused Israel's decision to go to war; it was Israel's desire to destroy Hamas and to punish the Palestinians for electing them. The rocket fire basically gave them the cover. Israel could have stopped the rocket fire without firing a single shot. To this day it refuses to negotiate, even indirectly, a cease-fire with Hamas.

Anonymous said...

The ICC, the International Court of Justice, in the Hague, was set-up specifically to prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for the worst crimes - genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes - committed anywhere in the world. The court has been signed and ratified by over 100 countries globally, including the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Canada, Australia etc – although the US, Iran and Israel are amongst those who have signed but not yet ratified.

Notwithstanding this, if evidence is confirmed that the Israeli army deliberately or knowingly killed unarmed civilians, including hundreds of children and dozens of women – then the European Union should initiate steps to have arrest warrants issued against the two Israeli ministers responsible for the military action in Gaza, i.e. EHUD OLMERT and EHUD BARAK.

In such an eventuality, these two persons should be brought before the ICC to answer charges of war crimes against the people of Gaza. The fact that Israel has signed a comprehensive agreement of co-operation with the European Union, (the EU-Israel Association Agreement), gives the EU the right – and indeed the duty – to take action to bring any such persons suspected of war crimes before the World Court.

Anonymous said...

"I know of two positions. The first says that Israel's war on Gaza was completely illegal from the get-go, that Israel had no right under Article 51 of the UN charter to react militarily to the rocket fire."

Completely ridiculous. The idea that indiscriminate rocket attacks on your civilian population doesn't entitle you to respond militarily has nothing to do with international law, and everything to do with anti-Israel ideology.

Which is why I'm not looking for citations to supposed "experts", or press releases from left-wing organizations. You can always find the usual suspects who will claim anything Israel does violates international law. Is there anyone Israeli or not, who is not an ideological leftist, who
thinks that Israel has acted illegally? For examples of those who DON'T think Israel has acted illegally, and aren't Israelis, off the top of my head there is Eugene Kontorvich of Northwestern University and Jeremy Rabkin of George Mason University. What do they have in common? Not leftists.

Given that ideology plays such a large role in people's perceptions of this debate, I am asking for citations to specific laws of war Israel has allegedly violated, the evidence for those violations, citations from case or statute or treatise authority that those actions constitute violations of said law, and acknowledgment of any contrary legal authority. My guess is that not a single signator to this letter can properly answer these questions, but that didn't stop them from accusing Israel of ignoring the laws of war.

Jerry Haber said...

Anonymous,

I made a claim as to the legality and morality of the Gaza engagement. You questioned the claim. Since we are all busy, I referred you to well-known experts. You claim that they are partisan and therefore their arguments are not worth dealing with. You then referred me to two conservative experts on international law (one of whom I know and like personally, and who has written against the system of international law because it weakens the sovereignty of the country of which he is a citizen.)

Now, what am I to make of your comment? Apparently, you do not allow me to refer to experts in their field, such as David Luban, who is hardly anti-Israel or leftwing (he is a liberal, rahmanah le-tzalan). If I can't come up with good arguments, then I can't make any claims.

Yet how long would intelligent discourse last if we can make no appeals to authority? Yes, people are partisan. But to dismiss somebody as partisan without dealing with the arguments is intellectually lazy.

The mature thing to do, my dear Anonymous, would be to DEAL WITH THE ARGUMENTS. Luban wrote a piece with over 80 comments. He has admitted that one of his arguments was incorrect and is revising the peace for publication. Perhaps you are one of the commenters.

Now, as for my original claim. Please tell me where Rabkin and Kontorvich have published opinions on the Gaza war, and how it accords with international law, charter, etc.

Look, in a blog, I can dismiss Rabkin and Kontorvich as Jewish neocons who represent a minority opinion. Actually, it is the latter that is significant. Oh, throw Dershowitz in there, too. There will always be Serbian law professors who justify Serb war crimes. There will always be Jewish law professors that dismiss the I.C.C.'s ruling on Israel's security fence as a travesty.

The wonderful thing is that nobody takes these folks seriously, just as nobody takes seriously the Zionist law professors like Gene Rostow who argued that the West Bank was not occupied.

Nobody, except, of course a few Zionists.

Finally, I don't understand the position of some conservatives. They bitch about international human rights law as leftwing and anti-American. Yet they claim that Israel's actions are in accordance with international law. Why have it both ways?

JWhitewater said...

"I know of two positions. The first says that Israel's war on Gaza was completely illegal from the get-go, that Israel had no right under Article 51 of the UN charter to react militarily to the rocket fire.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5488380.ece "

According to this article, 6,000 rockets launched at Israel in a span of 8 years is not "of the scale and effect" necessary to be considered an armed attack.

Even if we were to ignore the fact that over a dozen noncombatant Israeli civilians were killed, and thousands more having to resort to bomb shelters frequently, the suggestion that 6,000 rockets is not an armed attack is so preposterous that it's almost not even worth taking the author seriously enough to reasonably argue with.

Honestly, I feel like anyone who dismisses the rocket fire as "homemade" "crude" or harmless should spend a week in Sderot.

JWhitewater said...

And I'm still confused as to how Israel can "renew a truce" with a group that at the time had started firing 80 rockets a day at civilians, let alone the fact that the Palestinian "militants" never ceased fire during the truce to begin with.

But then again, I'd be arguing with people who claim that Israel's November destruction of a Hamas tunnel that was being dug INTO Israel to kidnap soldiers was an act of aggression.

Anonymous said...

First of all, if you read Luban carefully, he concludes that either the charges that Israel violated international law are false, or that the relevant standards are so vague, as with proportionality, that it's impossible to say. He obviously is uncomfortable, from a moral perspective, with Israel's justification for its actions, but he's honest enough to acknowledge that he can't argue that these actions are illegal.

That, unfortunately, is not true of a wide range of NGOs and IL "scholars," who assert that Israel violated international law, and either don't cite ANYTHING, or simply assume that their own extremely controversial, pacifistic interpretations of highly contested notions like proportionality are "the law." In yet other cases, Amnesty and others have simply made up law that doesn't exist, as in 2006 when Amnesty claimed that Israel couldn't bomb roads used by Hezbollah if civilians also used them, a completely absurd suggestion. Then there was HRW, which claimed that Israel was obligated to treat Lebanese civilian casaulties as no less serious then casualties among its own population, which is completely contrary to any notion of the sovereign nation state with responsibility to protect its citizens from aggression.

In short, international law has become a rhetorical weapon, a shorthand to pretend to give an objective reason to oppose military action one finds distasteful for ideological or other reasons. Therefore, arguments from authority on this issue are completely unpersuasive.

But that shouldn't stop you from citing international law. You just have actually cite to precedents, treaties, and the like, and show how Israel's actions are in violation. We can then argue about whether these rules are being properly applied, whether Israel is actually bound by them (e.g., a treaty it didn't sign), and whether the rules make sense to begin with.

It's ironic that you are willing to dismiss the views of "Israelis" or "neoconservatives" as somehow biased, but are willing to accept arguments from authority by overtly leftist and/or anti-Israel individuals and organizations.

Jerry Haber said...

Anonymous, who isn't reading Luban carefully? He writes:

"But let's be clear about this: proportionality only comes in when the targets are legitimate. Proportionality under JIB concerns civilian deaths when attacking a legitimate military target. If Israel is targeting all the institutions of Hamas's civil government of Gaza, including all those who work in those targets, it seems to be going after civilians--to repeat again, not only according to international law that Israel rejects, but also according to the law of war as Israel's own Supreme Court understands it. If that's right, the attacks are illegal even without reaching the question of proportionality."

So, according to Luban, if Israel is going after institutions of Hamas' civil government -- and they did, since he gives examples -- then, according to Luban, not only do they violate international law, they violate Israeli law. That is his point.

This is intended as a rebuttal to Walzer on proportionality. Walzer, ever the defender of Israel (though his silence is deafening this time around) wrote on proportionality that future attacks should be taken into consideration. What Luban is saying is that even if Israel's response is considered proportional, when it targets buildings of civil administration (as it has done repeatedly in the second intifada, homat magen, and now here), it is acting illegally.

Perhaps, anonymous, you should take a course in reading comprehension.

I am not dismissing anybody ab initio as biased. But if the only people supporting the legality of Israel's actions in the conduct of the war -- and if you bothered to read the statement, you will see that it took no stand on the legality of the decision to go to war -- are Israelis or Zionists, then, yes, that raises a question.

Who is, in your opinion, a neutral observer, neither rightwing nor leftwing, somebody who is not known to be a partisan?

The truth is that nobody will be ok in your eyes who doesn't agree with you. What would you say about somebody who writes this:

"The segments of the [security] wall being built by Israel to protect the settlements are ipso facto in violation of international humanitarian law. Moreover, given the demonstrable great hardship to which the affected Palestinian population is being subjected in and around the enclaves created by those segments of the wall, I seriously doubt that the wall would here satisfy the proportionality requirement to qualify as a legitimate measure of self-defense."

You would dismiss that as the sentiment of some crazy anti-Israeli leftwing ideologue, right?

And when I told you that the citation is taken from the dissenting opinion of Judge Thomas Buergenthal in the landmark ICC decision against Israel, you would say, "Yeah, well he was right part of the time."

Could the neocon Jew lawyers be right about Israel and the rest of the world wrong? Sure, it is possible. Just as it is possible that the Milosevic's supporters were right and the rest of the world wrong.

But, listen, I can understand how hard it is for you to be in the minority on this one.

Jerry Haber said...

JWhitewater, both sides violated the other's sovereignty, all right?

If Hamas wasn't firing rockets, there would no point in renewing a truce, right? I mean what sort of truce does Israel have with Switzerland.

The fact remains that Israel stepped up its war with Hamas after the Palestinian elections. So, I guess it was all those ballots that they considered to be a threat to their security.

Mad Zionist said...

And this is what we get in Israel if these people got their way and empowered the Gaza's Hamas controlled government:

From the Hamas Charter:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Peter said...

Mad Zionist, my problem with the Nov 4 tunnel is that I haven't seen one credible source claiming it was dug into Israel (and thus could be used to carry out a terror attack or kidnap soldiers). If you know about such, let us know. I had a discussion about it with Alex at falsedi and it looks like even the official Israeli version was that the tunnel was inside the fence. Now, I agree that if Israel indeed discovered a tunnel into Israel, it'd be justified in attacking it (even though I think a smarter course of action would be to ambush it). I just did not see any credible source confirming it. Together with the timing of the attack - the day of the elections in the US - it makes me very, very suspicious about this whole affair. Smells like a provocation.

Anonymous said...

The Hamas police are both civil administrators and also under the control of Hamas's military wing, as one of his commenters pointed out. Luban is apparently unaware of this, but since he said that "If" Israel was attacking pure civil administration, it would be violating the law, the if clause isn't satisfied. Not to mention that it's completely unclear, in fact, how you deal with armed members of a "government" that is actually, under international law, a terrorist militia that is also serving government functions.

Be that as it may, you reject the views of "Jew neoconservative lawyers" and "Israelis," in favor of authorities from the rest of the world. But you are still relying on an argument from authority, implicitly admitting that you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA from your own knowledge whether Israel is violating international law.

Here's the 64K question: if Jewish and Israeli lawyers and professors (half of all professors at leading U.S. law schools are Jewish) are excluded, because they are "biased," how about excluding any opinions from those who are ideological leftists, anti-Zionists, anti-Western, pro-Hamas, or otherwise hostile to Israel? Can you cite me a LEGAL analysis by any person who does not fit into one of these categories who says that Israel acted with "with little or no consideration for human rights or the laws of war."? How about someone who thinks Israel SHOULD HAVE gone into Gaza as policy matter, but broke international law once it did so? Take as long as you need to.

And how about the retired British colonel who remarked who remarked that there has been "no time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and the deaths of innocent people than the IDF." http://tinyurl.com/bpk9md
A secret Jew?

And a final question that you can't answer: what could Israel have done differently in Gaza that would lead you to have concluded that Israel did not violate international law? If the answer is "nothing," then, like I said, you are using "international law" as a rhetorical trope to promote a policy view that is extra-legal.

Oh, and by the way, just in case English is not your first language, only anti-Semites talk about "Jew lawyers," the proper English phrase is "Jewish lawyers."

Anonymous said...

And by the way, I'm not responding to your provocations about the wall because they are distractions from the issue at hand. You are promoting a letter claiming that Israel ignored, or virtually ignored, international law and human rights re Gaza. I'm still waiting for your evidence of that, besides citing a bunch of anti-Israel sources, before I'd weigh in on other controversies.

Yehuda said...

What would have been the reaction of most Americans (or most of the civilized world, for that matter) if someone had made the charge that the U.S. and its military forces were guilty of war crimes after Sept. 11, 2001, because, while bombing Al Qaeda and the Taliban government harboring them in Afghanistan, "excessive" numbers of civilians were ???????tragically but inadvertently killed — because the number killed exceeded the 3,000 people who died on 9/11?

Jerry Haber said...

"Not to mention that it's completely unclear, in fact, how you deal with armed members of a "government" that is actually, under international law, a terrorist militia that is also serving government functions."

Unclear to whom? Under what international law? Do you make up this stuff?

Look, until you cite me webpages with international law experts supporting your views on the Gaza incursion, I am not continuing this conversation. It started with your challenging my claim. You have written a lot, yet you have not quoted a single international law authority who has defended Israel on Gaza.

So far I have over a dozen lawyers and law professors, many of them prominent, including Brownlie, Falk, and Bassiouni, who wrote the standard books. You haven't cited the opinions of any others of that calibre.

On second thought, and because I am in a charitable mood, I will give you one lawyer on your side, who happens to be an Israeli -- Pnina Sharvit Barukh. She has even been appointed to Tel Aviv's faculty of law. She will tell you that bombing the police graduation was perfectly legal.

She authorized it.

For the widespread support of Sharvit Barukh among the faculty of the law school, see

http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1059719.html


http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1060066.html


http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1058731.html


You are right, English is not my first language -- American is.

There are Jewish lawyers and there are Jew lawyers, and one can be both, e.g., Alan Dershowitz.




Talk to yourself

JWhitewater said...

"The fact remains that Israel stepped up its war with Hamas after the Palestinian elections."

Even ignoring the fact Hamas had been murdering Israeli citizens years before the Second Intifada, let's just look at the rocket fire timeline.

Qassam rocket and mortar fire from Gaza started in 2002.

Qassam rocket and mortar fire continued after Israel's pullout in 2005.

Qassam rocket and mortar fire continued during and after Hamas ousted Fatah.

Rocket and mortar fire has steadily continued ever since, including the use of Katyushas and other longer range rockets, and most recently including the use of white phosphorous warheads.

You act as though Hamas started its resistance when the Israelis began blockading Gaza. Neverminding the fact that it's farcical Israel is obligated to send aid shipments to its enemy during a time of perpetual war (especially when Hamas hijacks and redirects the aid), the simple fact is that Israel controls the amount of aid flowing in based on the amount of terrorist activity. None of this is secret and is easily accessible on government websites: when there's calm, aid flows freely. When there isn't, aid is restricted. Hardly a surprise.

JWhitewater said...

"JWhitewater, both sides violated the other's sovereignty, all right?

If Hamas wasn't firing rockets, there would no point in renewing a truce, right? I mean what sort of truce does Israel have with Switzerland."

I don't really understand what you're trying to say, although in response I'll counter that it's the equivalent of saying the Allies violated Germany's sovereignty during World War II after the Battle of Britain. I'm missing your point, so feel free to clarify for me again.

JWhitewater said...

"Mad Zionist, my problem with the Nov 4 tunnel is that I haven't seen one credible source claiming it was dug into Israel (and thus could be used to carry out a terror attack or kidnap soldiers). If you know about such, let us know."

http://backspin.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515b7869e2010535da4926970c-pi

The tunnel was being dug 240 meters from the Israeli border. That was the exact same tactic used to nab Shalit.

Can anyone honestly suggest Hamas was digging a tunnel that close to Israel's border for defensive purposes?

Anonymous said...

So you intentionally use anti-Semitic phraseology to attack Jewish lawyers you don't like? This conversation is over.

Jerry Haber said...

Brian Leiter left this comment, which I inadvertantly deleted -- and I cannot reinstate, I guess:

Jerry: I'm afraid that David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason who has never seen an Israeli crime he could not excuse, picked up on your fine letter of protest from my law school blog, and then wrote about it on the right-wing "Volokh Conspiracy" blog--this probably explains the onslaught of apologists. Professor Bernstein, as is his habit, decided to focus on just three words of the statement--the reference to "laws of war"--conveniently, and quite typically, omitting that the statement was primarily concerned to raise moral objections to the Israeli incursion. Israel is, of course, a serial violator of international law (rivalled among purportedly civilized nations perhaps only by the United States!), but even if its conduct in this instance were wholly within the norms of international law, this would have no bearing on the immorality of the slaughter. In any case, you have adduced suitable authority for the proposition that there are also violations of international legal norms here, but as a legal philosopher, let me say that I think that is far less important than the moral core of the statement you and Mr. Silverstein have crafted.

The comment by Yehuda above is ironic and related to the points made above: though the U.S. attack on Afghanistan was not illegal, it would be quite reasonable to think it was immoral. But the failure of international law to provide any meaningful moral constraints on the behavior of states is not news to any student of that subject.

Jerry Haber said...

Brian,

Thanks for the comment (which I inadvertantly deleted.)

In raising questions about the legality of Israel's conduct the Gaza enterprise, I relied on two sources -- the Times advert that listed a few scholars of international law who branded it illegal, including Falk,Brownlie, and Bassiouni, and a post by David Luban (which he is, I believe reworking), on the Balkanization blog, who suggests that in terms of jus in bello (but not ad bellum), Israel's actions were illegal not only by the standards of international law but by its own legal standards.

Please let me know if there are relatively "neutral" experts in international law who shed light on the subject, either pro or con. If Israel's conduct of the war was legal, then why is it that only conservatives (mostly, Jewish neocons), are on its side?

Jerry Haber said...

JWhitewater,

I didn't understand your point about the truce renewal, but let's just forget that whole bit.

However, you do point out that the war on Hamas predates the siege, and that a fair story would have to back to the beginning, when Israel encouraged the growth of Hamas as an alternative to the PLO.

If I have a chance -- I am very busy with my day job -- I will try to look hard at that history, especially the different faces of Hamas.

I focused on the Palestinian elections because that was a moment when Hamas had made a strategic decision to become a part of the Palestinian Authority whereas up until then, as I recall, it had sat out the whole Oslo dance to which it was not invited -- or rather, it had tried to crash it several times by blowing people up.

That moment was a crucial one for Hamas because in joining the political process, it had to reduce its violence, primarily because the Palestinian street blamed it in part for the breakdown of Oslo. In fact, Oslo, in a sense, had coopted it, because if you wanted to be a player, you had to be in the PA.

This was a golden opportunity for Israel to engage with Hamas -- especially after it did so well in the elections -- and to help it make a transition to an organization that was primarily a political party -- just as had been done with the PLO. (So many forget that in the space of a few years, Israel had radically changed its attitude toward the PLO.)

Of course, there are difference between the secular PLO and the religious, hardline, Hamas. But after the elections, Haniyeh and others were willing and ready for this engagement, as they publicly stated.

Instead, Israel went ballistic -- not because of rocket fire, which it could easily have stopped through negotiation, but because of the Hamas charter, which it could not. To use Obama's phrase, Hamas unclenched its fist (especially on suicide bombing) and Israel's response was to cut it off.

Worse, Israel imposed collective punishment on Gaza in retribution for the election -- even though all experts said that the election was basically a referendum not on Israel's existence but on Fatah's corruption.

The above cannot substitute for a day by day history -- but you will find, JLWhitewater, that your memory is more selective than mine on this one.

By the way, that history has indeed to include the Oslo period. To this day, people think that Hamas's suicide bombing were entirely motivated by an implacable and irrational hatred of Israel, Jews, and Fatah. Yet during the Oslo period, Israel conducted a war against Hamas, and Hamas's moves were often in response to moves against it.

I am not justifying those bombings, but it is important to understand that Hamas' military actions have not flowed merely from their ideology and their charter -- but rather from a specific context, both intra-Palestinian and with Israel.

Do I consider Hamas a terrorist organization? Yes, they have performed acts of terror, though much less than the state terror committed by Israel. I condemn both parties for their terror. As the prime minister of Turkey said correctly yesterday, it is about time that Pres. Obama rethinks the definition of terrorism, especially when it comes to the Middle East.

Jerry Haber said...

JWhitewater,

I didn't understand your point about the truce renewal, but let's just forget that whole bit.

However, you do point out that the war on Hamas predates the siege, and that a fair story would have to back to the beginning, when Israel encouraged the growth of Hamas as an alternative to the PLO.

If I have a chance -- I am very busy with my day job -- I will try to look hard at that history, especially the different faces of Hamas.

I focused on the Palestinian elections because that was a moment when Hamas had made a strategic decision to become a part of the Palestinian Authority whereas up until then, as I recall, it had sat out the whole Oslo dance to which it was not invited -- or rather, it had tried to crash it several times by blowing people up.

That moment was a crucial one for Hamas because in joining the political process, it had to reduce its violence, primarily because the Palestinian street blamed it in part for the breakdown of Oslo. In fact, Oslo, in a sense, had coopted it, because if you wanted to be a player, you had to be in the PA.

This was a golden opportunity for Israel to engage with Hamas -- especially after it did so well in the elections -- and to help it make a transition to an organization that was primarily a political party -- just as had been done with the PLO. (So many forget that in the space of a few years, Israel had radically changed its attitude toward the PLO.)

Of course, there are difference between the secular PLO and the religious, hardline, Hamas. But after the elections, Haniyeh and others were willing and ready for this engagement, as they publicly stated.

Instead, Israel went ballistic -- not because of rocket fire, which it could easily have stopped through negotiation, but because of the Hamas charter, which it could not. To use Obama's phrase, Hamas unclenched its fist (especially on suicide bombing) and Israel's response was to cut it off.

Worse, Israel imposed collective punishment on Gaza in retribution for the election -- even though all experts said that the election was basically a referendum not on Israel's existence but on Fatah's corruption.

The above cannot substitute for a day by day history -- but you will find, JLWhitewater, that your memory is more selective than mine on this one.

By the way, that history has indeed to include the Oslo period. To this day, people think that Hamas's suicide bombing were entirely motivated by an implacable and irrational hatred of Israel, Jews, and Fatah. Yet during the Oslo period, Israel conducted a war against Hamas, and Hamas's moves were often in response to moves against it.

I am not justifying those bombings, but it is important to understand that Hamas' military actions have not flowed merely from their ideology and their charter -- but rather from a specific context, both intra-Palestinian and with Israel.

Do I consider Hamas a terrorist organization? Yes, they have performed acts of terror, though much less than the state terror committed by Israel. I condemn both parties for their terror. As the prime minister of Turkey said correctly yesterday, it is about time that Pres. Obama rethinks the definition of terrorism, especially when it comes to the Middle East.

Jerry Haber said...

JWhitewater,

I didn't understand your point about the truce renewal, but let's just forget that whole bit.

However, you do point out that the war on Hamas predates the siege, and that a fair story would have to back to the beginning, when Israel encouraged the growth of Hamas as an alternative to the PLO.

If I have a chance -- I am very busy with my day job -- I will try to look hard at that history, especially the different faces of Hamas.

I focused on the Palestinian elections because that was a moment when Hamas had made a strategic decision to become a part of the Palestinian Authority whereas up until then, as I recall, it had sat out the whole Oslo dance to which it was not invited -- or rather, it had tried to crash it several times by blowing people up.

That moment was a crucial one for Hamas because in joining the political process, it had to reduce its violence, primarily because the Palestinian street blamed it in part for the breakdown of Oslo. In fact, Oslo, in a sense, had coopted it, because if you wanted to be a player, you had to be in the PA.

This was a golden opportunity for Israel to engage with Hamas -- especially after it did so well in the elections -- and to help it make a transition to an organization that was primarily a political party -- just as had been done with the PLO. (So many forget that in the space of a few years, Israel had radically changed its attitude toward the PLO.)

Of course, there are difference between the secular PLO and the religious, hardline, Hamas. But after the elections, Haniyeh and others were willing and ready for this engagement, as they publicly stated.

Instead, Israel went ballistic -- not because of rocket fire, which it could easily have stopped through negotiation, but because of the Hamas charter, which it could not. To use Obama's phrase, Hamas unclenched its fist (especially on suicide bombing) and Israel's response was to cut it off.

Worse, Israel imposed collective punishment on Gaza in retribution for the election -- even though all experts said that the election was basically a referendum not on Israel's existence but on Fatah's corruption.

The above cannot substitute for a day by day history -- but you will find, JLWhitewater, that your memory is more selective than mine on this one.

By the way, that history has indeed to include the Oslo period. To this day, people think that Hamas's suicide bombing were entirely motivated by an implacable and irrational hatred of Israel, Jews, and Fatah. Yet during the Oslo period, Israel conducted a war against Hamas, and Hamas's moves were often in response to moves against it.

I am not justifying those bombings, but it is important to understand that Hamas' military actions have not flowed merely from their ideology and their charter -- but rather from a specific context, both intra-Palestinian and with Israel.

Do I consider Hamas a terrorist organization? Yes, they have performed acts of terror, though much less than the state terror committed by Israel. I condemn both parties for their terror. As the prime minister of Turkey said correctly yesterday, it is about time that Pres. Obama rethinks the definition of terrorism, especially when it comes to the Middle East.

JWhitewater said...

"That moment was a crucial one for Hamas because in joining the political process, it had to reduce its violence, primarily because the Palestinian street blamed it in part for the breakdown of Oslo. In fact, Oslo, in a sense, had coopted it, because if you wanted to be a player, you had to be in the PA."

You are under the (incorrect) assumption that the Palestinian civilians voting for Hamas wanted Hamas to reduce the violence. Hamas made no secret of its charter or its goal to murder every Jew in the Middle East.

An-Najah University conducted a poll of Palestinian public opinion a few months ago and found that 53.4 percent persist in their rejection of a two-state solution. http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/01/the-mother-of-a.php

Yes the Palestinians voted out Fatah based on corruption, but they knew they were voting for anti-Semitic terrorists who have publicly stated that they will never recognize Israel.

"This was a golden opportunity for Israel to engage with Hamas -- especially after it did so well in the elections -- and to help it make a transition to an organization that was primarily a political party -- just as had been done with the PLO. (So many forget that in the space of a few years, Israel had radically changed its attitude toward the PLO.)"

This is a disingenuous description of the elections. Hamas and Fatah weren't running on similar platforms. Hamas ran on its charter, and it refused to renounce terrorism, it refused to recognize Israel's right to exist, and it refused to recognize treaties signed by the PA.

"Of course, there are difference between the secular PLO and the religious, hardline, Hamas. But after the elections, Haniyeh and others were willing and ready for this engagement, as they publicly stated."

Again, Hamas refused to recognize Israel, refused to renounce terror, and refused to recognize past agreements. That was not "unclenching the fist."

"Instead, Israel went ballistic -- not because of rocket fire, which it could easily have stopped through negotiation, but because of the Hamas charter, which it could not."

Yeah, we've seen how well negotiations have stopped rocket fire. Even during the "cease fire" there were dozens of rockets fired into Israel. Even if you want to blame Islamic Jihad or other groups instead of Hamas for not recognizing the ceasefire, it's still Hamas' responsibility to stop the rocket fire coming from the territory it governs.

"To use Obama's phrase, Hamas unclenched its fist (especially on suicide bombing) and Israel's response was to cut it off."

That's a wildly disingenuous description of 2005-2009.

Jerry Haber said...

"You are under the (incorrect) assumption that the Palestinian civilians voting for Hamas wanted Hamas to reduce the violence. Hamas made no secret of its charter or its goal to murder every Jew in the Middle East. "

Homework assignment. Please give me the source for the statement that the goal of Hamas is to murder every Jew in the Middle East. It should be easy, since you say that Hamas makes no secret of it.

Failure to comply with assignment means being banned from a blog for a month.

Jerry Haber said...

Oh, some help on your assignment:

1) The murder of every Jew in the Middle East has to be the goal of Hamas -- so, it has to be appear in an official Hamas statement.

2) And, hence, it cannot be an appeal to Allah to kill every Jew -- that actually means that it is not the goal of Hamas to kill every Jew. (Hashem yikom damo is different from Anahnu nikom damo)

3) It has to be part of Hamas's election propaganda before the elections in 2006, of course.

4) Finally, it has to be compatible with the following notorious statment of the Hamas charter:

"Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security"

Mad Zionist said...

Jerry, your efforts to libel the Jews in Israel as terrorists worse than Hamas borders on heresy. You believe that Jewish forces rising up against rodef organizations actively murdering Jews is terrorism???? It's called a milchemet mitzvah, my brother.

Minim are not new to Judaism, of course. If you weren't already doing so, you may want to consider skipping that particular bracha in the Amida, Jerry.

If you feel that it is best for Jews to live in a multinational state without self-determination, well, that's an opinion and it's your right to express it. When you cross the line to condemning the Jews fighting against those who are pursuing to kill Jews, you have become something far more sinister.

My recommendation is to just stick with your utopian dreams, but stop the blood libels against your own people. Not unlike Naturei Karta, you're libel is only serving to strengthen the arguments of the anti-Semites.

Peter said...

JWhitewater, you said "You are under the (incorrect) assumption that the Palestinian civilians voting for Hamas wanted Hamas to reduce the violence." And why do you think that? Given a choice between a corrupt, inefficient Fatah (whom, I suspect, you don't consider any better than Hamas) and not corrupt, efficient Hamas, would you base your election choice primarily on their attitudes towards Israel? I doubt it.
"An-Najah University conducted a poll of Palestinian public opinion a few months ago and found that 53.4 percent persist in their rejection of a two-state solution. http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/01/the-mother-of-a.php"
First, you are making it look like rejecting two-state solution is the same as being anti-Semitic and wishing every Jew dead. This is absurd. Second, many Palestinians, and not only Palestinians, came to the conclusion that two-state solution is no longer feasible and are ready to fight for equal rights in a bi-national state. And let's not forget who made the most to render the two-state solution impossible. And third, I have another poll for you:
59% Support the Egyptian initiative

67%: The rockets must stop 33% Supports the rockets

65% support signing peace agreement with Israel (in the WB 62%, in Gaza 70%)

59% think that Hamas should change its stance refusing to recognize Israel (66% in Gaza, 55% in the WB)

How to stop the conflict with Israel? 42% Peace negotiations, 25% armed struggle, 10% popular struggle [I guess this refers to civil rights struggle - PD] 23% all of the above"

JWhitewater said...

"1) The murder of every Jew in the Middle East has to be the goal of Hamas -- so, it has to be appear in an official Hamas statement."

It's already in this comments section, ironically enough. From Hamas's FOUNDING CHARTER:

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

"2) And, hence, it cannot be an appeal to Allah to kill every Jew -- that actually means that it is not the goal of Hamas to kill every Jew."

That has to be one of the strangest arguments I've ever seen. So if I call upon God to kill every Mexican but then don't do it myself, I'm not advocating for the death of every Mexican?

Anyway, in the past two weeks we've had Palestinian terrorists plant bombs along the border and fire more rocket and mortars, one of which hit a kindergarten yesterday. 1 Israeli has already been killed and a few wounded during the "cease fire" but I'm sure when Israel responds it'll all be their fault. Of course.

JWhitewater said...

And I probably don't have to tell you this because it's well known what appears in Palestinian media, but Hamas leaders have called for the "annihilation" of the Jews.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-littman092602.asp

Here are some of the things Hamas was saying right around election time.

http://www.pmw.org.il/tv-hamas.htm

Jerry Haber said...

Thanks, Peter. You saved me the trouble.

Jonathan, the assignment was simple. I even basically told you what was not acceptable, and you ignored the hint. So let me make it easier.

You claimed that Hamas ran its elections on a platform of killing every Jew in the Middle East, and that is why they were voted into power, or something to that effect. The sources of the blood libel(I googled it) was all the crackpot rightwing websites. (By the way, it turns out that nobody from Hamas EVER said that Hamas had as its aim "killing every Jew in the MIddle East" in Arabic. It would be interesting how to see the phrase is associated on the websites with several different sources, including the Mufti of Jerusalem!)

So you went to the rightwing sites that love to wrench quotes out of context -- how good is your Arabic, Jonathan -- and interpret for you what people are really saying.

Oh, all this is so familiar...

So, when a Kahanist group says that the Arabs are Amalek, and that it is a mitzvah to wipe out Amalek, you can say -- wrongly -- that it was part of Kahane's platform to wipe out every Arab.

Your tactics are the tactics of anti-Semites everywhere, who haul quotes of the Talmud out of context to show how nefarious the Jews are.

Is it outrageous and pathetically stupid when the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Ahmad Kahane (my joke), says that there will come a day when every American and Jew will die, and he prays to Allah for that day? Yes, it it those things, and people should condemn him for saying it.

But is that the same thing as having an ideology that calls for the systematic killing of Jews and Americans?

Only somebody who reasons like a classical anti-Semite will go there. Or somebody like Morton Klein, who is just plain stupid.

And so, Jonathan, you have failed the assignment. You especially failed because you did not deal with the counter-evidence I provided you with, the statement in the Hamas charter which guarantees freedom of worship for Jews and Christians in an Islamic state. That is irreconcilable with your interpretation of the hadith cited later on in the Charter, which is just another piece of classical rhetoric of the same sort as, oh I don't know, "All the people Israel's enemies will be destroyed one day."

But...doggone it, there is grade inflation in the world, and though you deserve an F, I cannot neglect the fact that you did try hard...

So I won't ban you from the blog, I only will ignore some of the sillier things you write.

Maybe Peter has the time for such narrishkeit.

JWhitewater said...

"First, you are making it look like rejecting two-state solution is the same as being anti-Semitic and wishing every Jew dead. This is absurd."

No. What I was trying to say is that the Palestinian public was not demanding an end to Hamas's violent tactics as part of voting them into power. It was not implicit as part of the elections that Hamas had to act more responsibly, and it's clear Hamas didn't interpret the election as requiring them to renounce violence or recognize Israel. Sorry if my post wasn't clear there.

"You claimed that Hamas ran its elections on a platform of killing every Jew in the Middle East, and that is why they were voted into power, or something to that effect. The sources of the blood libel(I googled it) was all the crackpot rightwing websites. (By the way, it turns out that nobody from Hamas EVER said that Hamas had as its aim "killing every Jew in the MIddle East" in Arabic.

I don't speak Arabic, but I can easily go to MEMRI at http://www.memri.org/ where they translate the Arabic for me.

"And so, Jonathan, you have failed the assignment."

You didn't even respond to the links I provided you.

"You especially failed because you did not deal with the counter-evidence I provided you with, the statement in the Hamas charter which guarantees freedom of worship for Jews and Christians in an Islamic state."

We just happen to view Hamas differently. Forgive me for being a bit more cynical and skeptical about Hamas claiming to be a humane movement while it fires thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens and throws Palestinian opponents off rooftops. Or shoots "collaborators," hijacks aid and refuses to provide it to anyone suspected of ties to Fatah. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304655613&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull I'm gonna judge Hamas on its actions in this case.

"That is irreconcilable with your interpretation of the hadith cited later on in the Charter, which is just another piece of classical rhetoric of the same sort as, oh I don't know, "All the people Israel's enemies will be destroyed one day."

So you expect us to take at face value Hamas's words about being a humane movement while it commits terrorism, but when looking at the violent part of its charter, we're supposed to just disregard it as rhetorical flourish?

As an aside, I admire and actually applaud the fact that you use a nom de guerre for a website to both protect your identity and allow you to be more unfettered in your commentary. However, threatening to ban me from your blog when I'm simply arguing (forcefully but respectfully) goes against every tenet and principle of academia. With that said, I can't tell if you're being serious about the ban threats, so if it's more of a joke than anything disregard this last paragraph.

Mad Zionist said...

Peter, you are 100% correct about the inadequacy of the Two-State solution, but 100% wrong about how the Single State solution needs to be applied. no matter how you slice it and dice it, the concept of Jews and arabs living together in Israel as a binational state is the most naive and deadly option for all sides.

If you believe that the moslems have been the victims of Jewish aggression since the turn of the 19th century, well, like most arabs you'll want the Jews to be put in the most vulnerable position and empower the arabs. Obviously that is not an argument 99.9% of the Jews will agree with, so you may want to think realistically rather than as an advocate for arabs.

JWhitewater said...

http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=20&x_article=1618

Care to discuss and refute the quotes and the charter here Jerry? MEMRI translates Arabic, so context is not lost

Amanda Crowe said...

successfully implementing a two-state solution is the key to solving all the other issues of the Middle East. ... It would be difficult to oppose a prime minister who is facing what is viewed in Israel as a true crisis of national security.