Best Panel Discussion Ever on "The Lobby"

Our newly designated Author Emeritus has a good post and a great link to a debate, put on by the London Review of books, on the often talked about Walt and Mersheimer article titled: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

It’s a very interesting discussion, and intelligent enough to wish that the subject matter had been more broad. If approximately these same guys were to debate ACTUAL policy issues, I would tune in.

No Justice – No Peace


A test of the Walt and Mearsheimer hypothesis

If the sales go through, I’d like to see the response of the AIPAC. It’s not like we can depend on Israel to deter Iran. Of course, I’ve heard chatter of a (temporary, of course) alliance between the Israelis and the Saudis against the Iranians. I doubt that would fly either. I think having more allies in the middle east is a good thing, and if weapons sales to countries concerned about Iran makes more allies for the US, good for us.

Bible, with a strap

In order to retain my monthly membership as a contributor, a cool link about…purse bibles.

To be consistent with the current theme here, the money quote:

“Consider the plight of Rollie Massimino, the coach of the Villanova Wildcats . . . Villanova was ranked, well nowhere . . Several thousand years earlier there was another underdog group that didn’t have much to work with. They were called the Israelites.”

See y’all in January if not sooner!

Posted in Israel. 2 Comments »

Interesting Walt and Mearsheimer rebuttal

The above article makes some interesting points about the influence and history of AIPAC and Israel. In all honesty the Walt and Mearsheimer paper is a rather sober account and not an Israel bashing diatribe…however I think it does minimize the threat to Israel to makes it’s point. I haven’t read the whole W & M paper (dissertation, remember?) but I think it is a worthy read. I also think the above is a solidly researched history as well. I think there are bigger foreign policy threats to US than Israel, namely Iran and, in the long run, China. As mentioned in one of the previous links the Saudi lobby is probably more dangerous (i.e. representing a government which is far less of an ally than Israel, and highly tolerant of anti-American terrorists) than the Israel lobby.

I’ve got Israel fever…the cure?

Let me start by saying I have a lot of sympathy for the people of Lebanon. In my opinion the country of Lebanon has for the most part been an innocent bystander in the Arab-Israeli conflict, sending only token forces if any in the great battles against Israel. In many ways Lebanon is similar to Israel, a very fragile and small country. And it has been hijacked by some brutal people (Iran via Hizbollah) in the name of regaining Palestine. Only recently have they ousted Syrian secret police only to have the power vacuum filled literally by Israeli bombs and Hizbollah. I share the sentiment of the (warning this links to an Israeli website which is designed to burn the eyeballs of all peace and justice loving individuals) Lebanese PM when he says, “I Hope the (Lebanese) army will be the only military entity to be recognized by all residents of southern Lebanon ,” Amen, brother, and good luck with that.

I go on the record to say that the attack on Beirut by Israel was totally unfair, and Lebanese civilians surely suffered the most of this conflict. I don’t think, however, Israel was unprovoked as Scottie implies. 10 men an invasion, when rockets are being shot into Israel, as they had been LONG before Israel set foot in Lebanon?

Can the U.N. enforce sanctions on a non-state like Hezbollah? Can Amnesty International report on them? Well, here’s what the most recentreport said,

“The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of power and water plants, as well as the transport infrastructure vital for food and other humanitarian relief, was deliberate and an integral part of a military strategy,” Gilmore said in a press release.”

That transport infrastructure was “roads and bridges”.

Meanwhile, from the same report,

“During the four week war Hezbollah fired 3,900 rockets at Israeli towns and cities with the aim of inflicting maximum civilian casualties.

The Israeli government says that 44 Israeli civilians were killed in the bombardments and 1,400 wounded. AI has not issued a report accusing Hezbollah of war crimes. “There’s a fine line between being harmless and being incompetant. AI wants to make Israel accountable for it’s aggression that is understandable. But not to condemn Hezbollah for having bad equipment and missing targets is basically having a double standard, since Hezbollah’s goal was to maximize Israeli casualties. Then of course I have to put up a youtube clip.
Now, maybe this isn’t legit, but hey, it’s YouTube.
Posted at 09:43 pm by Johnny B

Here we go again

Over the past few years surprisingly many Jews, Persians, Palestinians, and Syrians have come through either my lab or neighboring labs, enough so that I often get an earful about these issues, so much so that I get a little tired of seeing more of the story here….But anyway, back in 2002 one palestinian (2nd generation) undergraduate, who often used the lunch room to pray to the east (remember, state university, Ohio and federal taxpayer-funded) complaining all the time about Israel, Israel, Israel. I asked her, “What’s wrong with the Jews?” She said, “I have no problem with the Jews, it’s just the Israelis I have a problem with.”

Now, when the whole Mel Gibson thing broke, I thought, “Mel, Mel, Mel, just say ‘Israelis’ instead of Jews and there would be no problems.”

Scottie mentioned the Mel thing and that reminded me…I think some kind of declaration needs to be made to save some effort on everybody’s part. It is fair to criticize one country’s policy without being call racist, even if that country is Israel.

All right, so, Israel. Probably before trying to digest all those beautiful pearls Scottie wrote, I have to ask this: Post WWII, what do you do with the Jews?

We may not want to play monday morning quarterback on history, so let me ask a different question. Is it breaking U.N. resolutions and Israeli policy in the occupied territories that is the problem, or is it simply unfair that Israel exists because it displaces Palestinians etc.? I guess I’m wondering whether Israel “has a right to exist” or not (to the extent that countries have rights…what do you think I’m a linguist?)

Because the central problem with Hamas and Hezbollah, is that they don’t recognize Israel’s “right to exist”. The Palestinian government is propped up with U.S. and Israeli funds. Hamas wants to destroy Israel. That’s pretty clear. Taking the high road for democracy is all well and good but Israel shouldn’t fund it’s own demise, and the U.S. doesn’t have to chip in on that one either. That’s a big difference from running a coup. Big difference. That’s dollar diplomacy, not CIA black ops. W even said (astonishingly) he’s willing to deal with Hezbollah as a political party if they disarm (a la Ireland).

Posted at 08:35 pm by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 08/15/2006 04:45 PM PDT

Posted by Name @ 08/16/2006 04:40 PM PDT

Ok Johnny B, you have several mistakes in your piece so I must respond.

First of all, I think the tragedy of the Nazi Holocaust and Germany’s attempted destruction of not only German Jews but of European Jewry altogether was a dark moment in human history. Of course, there have been other genocides, some worse in number and proportion than Germany’s genocide of the Jews. My chief problem with evaluating historically the 1948 establishment of Israel at the expense of the indigenous Palestian people is that one sees one injustice (Nazi genocide of Jews) fueling another injustice (the dispossession and displacement of Palestinians) The factual record on this is quite clear. And if you read on these issues deeply, I mean books not articles, you will see that the historical interpretation of what happened to the Palestinians in ’48 and ’67 specifically has been transformed from a rosy, romantic pro-Zionist perspective to the one today that basically regards the Palestinians as having been ethnically-cleansed so that the Zionist goals could be achieved. There was a time when this version was attacked, (read Beyond Chutzpah and Image versus Reality on the I-P Conflict) but now it is not so much questioned, not by serious scholars at least.

So if I don’t think one injustice should fuel another, I cannot have an existential problem with Israel. I accept Israel as a state, and even though its history is about as illegiimate as a nation’s history can be, I do not support calls for its destruction.

However, I think that Israel should be held accountable to the same UN measures and same standards of international law as every other member nation of the UN. Currently they are not. Israel has been historically the most egregious violator of UN resolutions, and gets away with it habitually because of US veto power in the security council. There is a reason Israel has been permanently banned from ever sitting on the security council, and that’s because of its history on non-compliance with UN resolutions and its behavior in general, and not due to some grand anti-semitic conspiracy that some Israel apologists claim.

Hopefully that clears up one of your comments.

Secondly, regarding Hamas first :

Hamas was engaged in a cease-fire before its rise to power by way of internationally-monitored elections.
For 17 months, both before and after its election victories, Hamas did not order any attacks on Israel, civilian or military targets. Hamas did abide by this cease-fire even when Israel continued to punish the Gaza militarily. Hamas broke its cease-fire only after repeated attacks by the IDF inside of the Gaza, culminating in an Israeli shell killing an entire Palestinian family on a Gaza beach. What was Israel’s justification for its continual punishment of Gaza? Israel argued that thousands of Qassam rockets were flying into Israel. Let’s look at the facts for a very specific period :

In a debate on Democracy Now Norman Finkelstein had with a rep of AIPAC, some numbers were discussed. From September 05 – March 06 (approx) , Israel fired between 7,000 – 9,000 heavy artillery shells into the Gaza, like the one that killed an entire Palestinian family having a picnic on a beach. In this time period, more than 80 Palestinians were killed. The time frame was a little over 6 months. Let’s look at the other numbers : In the previous 5 years, about 1,000 Qassam rockets were launched into Israel by Palestinian militias. Exactly 8 Israelis were killed by these instruments in a 5-year span, not 6 months. The numbers do not lie, and are reported by mainstream human rights groups like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, B’tSelem, etc.
Where is Israeli accountability in all of this? There is a huge disparity in number of projectiles fired and huge disparities in deaths and casualties, and yet the US gov and press is quick to lend moral support to Israel because it is fighting “terrorists” . The question is thus begged “who is the terrorist” ?

Secondly, US Congress did away with Palestinian aid after the Hamas victory, so the US does not support Palestinians with aid.

Hamas does not refuse to recognize Israel ; get it right ; Hamas refuses to recognize Israel WHILE IT ILLEGALLY OCCUPIES THE WEST BANK , EAST JERUSALEM, AND FORMERLY THE GAZA STRIP, which is the really crucial qualification that reverberates from UN 242, a resolution Israel has defied for 39 years !!!!!!!!!!

A little difference between your statement and their actual stance ….

Hamas has never targeted Americans, and even though Hamas pops up as a “terrorist” group by our state department, please realize that in the international community the CIA is regarded as the biggest terrorist group of all time, and if you would like to discuss some of the CIA’s many contraventions of international law, so be it.

On to Hezbollah :

Hezbollah only exists because of Israel’s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. Their inclusion as a terrorist group I do not dispute at all, because they did bomb the marine barracks in Beirut killing 234 or so US Marines.

But as a resistance group they certainly have the right to defend their interests in south Lebanon.

Now in terms of a big picture, pro-Israel think-tanks in Washington DC and AIPAC and Neo-Cons in general are trying to get the US to fight a wider war against not only terrorist groups targeting the US but also those targeting Israel, which I have huge fundamental issues with.

Many people have huge issues with this scenario.

Sadly, Israel would have its peace if it would release the Golan Heights to Syria, would abandon its colonization of the West Bank, would tear down their ILLEGAL apartheid fence, 85% of which is inside the West Bank, would abolish torture of Palestinians, would stop extra-judicial assassinations, would stop destroying Palestinian infrastructure in the Gaza, would abandon Sheba Farms in Lebanon, would stop killing Palestinians in huge disproportion, and somehow make amends for the death and destruction and mayhem created by their actions , which was their choice endorsed by the US, in Lebanon. 700 dead, hundreds of thousands displaced, infrastructure destroyed, and all for 2 Israeli soldiers, captured by Hezbollah inside Lebanese territory. That is, of course, if you believe that vast propaganda that masquerades as news or scholarship concerning Israel and its immoral behavior.

These things Israel could do if it really wanted peace, but it doesn’t and it won’t until the US starts to question its unconditional support of that bellicose state. The hope of balancing the same foreign policy mentioned in my blog by Gov Keane, which was effectivley written out of history, is something the American people need to address, and until they do and until they hold our corrupt leaders accountable for this disastrous foreign policy, they will remain American Sheople.

Posted by Name @ 08/16/2006 04:50 PM PDTI forgot to mention one small detail that just occurred to me while re-reading the my reply :

The capture of Gilad Shalit occurred 1 day after the IDF illegally kidnapped a Palestinian doctor and his brother from the Gaza. According to international law, the capture of civilians by an army is worse than the capture of a combatant.
Anyway, not my main point. Literally hours before Israel re-invaded the Gaza and knocked out power and other crucial infrastructure, which amounts to collective punishment, Hamas and Fatah , in a landmark event historically, agreed to implicitly recognize Israel. Hours later, Israel decided to renew its devastation of the Gaza, and without the 8-9,000 Israeli settlers in the Gaza anymore, Israel could punish the Palestinians with impunity.

So again, if Israel really wanted peace and really wanted a Palestinian state to succeed, would they have scuttled the decision by Hamas and Fatah to recognize Israel with an invasion???????

Posted by Scottie @ 08/16/2006 04:52 PM PDT

please ignore my typos ; i was a bit agitated when i wrote this addendum

Posted by Johnny @ 08/19/2006 01:41 PM PDT

From the Hamas Charter:

Preface: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

From Khaled Meshaal:….

“We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else’s sins or solve somebody else’s problem.

But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice. “

Me: I think Hamas is referring to a 10 year hudna, which is pretty short.


Dumb move

I know there are many different views of Israel here at Logipundit, but I think we could agree on one point: It isn’t smart to kidnap their soldiers. I have had some interesting Israel-tourists work in the lab over the years, and I was talking with one yesterday about this…basically it seems the U.S. goes to bat for Israel at the U.N. and in general (aid etc.), but Israel is only out for Israel.

Posted at 07:39 am by Johnny B

Posted by BP @ 07/17/2006 06:59 PM PDT
Definitely not smart to kidnap their soldiers; I love the way the article puts “major escalation” in quotes, and informs us that noone was injured in the attacks in Haifa. So it’s OK for people to attack Israel as long as they suck so bad, they can’t hit their targets.

Israel drops leaflets to let everyone know they need to get out (never a good idea in my opinion–as if Hezbollah is gonna say, “hey this doesn’t apply to us, does it?”), and they’re lashed out at by EU, etc. for overreacting…meanwhile “it’s ONLY two little soldiers that were kidnapped, and at least THEIR missiles didn’t hit anybody…” as if the missiles were just gestures of friendship.

Posted by Johnny @ 07/18/2006 09:46 PM PDT
My Mom would call those, “love taps”.