Another smart Larison piece:
I appreciate Jim’s point that there are not many specific measures that Turkey or any other state can take that will directly harm Israel, but how has it reached a point that Turkish unwillingness to go to war with Israel has become proof of Israeli success? Four years ago, the Turkish public was angry with Israel over Lebanon and Erdogan’s government expressed some displeasure. A year and a half ago, the Turkish public was furious with Israel over Gaza, and the Turkish government was angry, which later prompted Erdogan’s Davos tirade. Various diplomatic slights and pointed insults have been exchanged since then. Now the Turkish public is incandescently outraged, and the Turkish government is furious. Self-defeating hyperbole aside, when the foreign minister of one of Israel’s better allies likens one of its actions to 9/11 and the Turkish PM threatens serious consequences in retaliation, this is not evidence that Israel has won anything. It is proof that in four short years Turkey and Israel have gone from being on reasonably good terms to being practically at daggers drawn. That is the result of repeated Israeli strategic failures that have had a cumulative effect over the last several years.
Oddly, it is continued uncritical, automatic U.S. backing that enables the worst instincts in Israel’s government, and it is this that allows it to persist in its self-destructive course long after it should have stopped and corrected its course. It is that very backing that will let Israel continue down this path until it will become impossible for the U.S. to balance its relationships with its other allies and its one-sided relationship with Israel.
Not that this will stop Anthony Weiner and Congress.
spare the rod, spoil the country
Once upon a time, Israel was a terrific idea — a modicum of solace for the genocide-ravaged Jewish communities of Europe and the world, a bright spot in an otherwise unimaginably horrific scenario. But from the very beginning, it was built upon contention, animosity, and forcible displacement. And it shows, even in the best of times, under the most moderate and diplomatic of Israeli governments. During the times when right-wing hardliners are in power, we end up with flotilla-Turkey situations.
I’m beginning to think that the current Israeli government thinks it has “won” when it hears its own RW extremist base cheering for it, and when it forces the US to very publicly ditch its own self-interest in favor of Israel’s. It frightens me — for America’s sake and Israel’s alike — to think of what it may take to finally break this cycle of codependence.
Depending on your point of view, this is either a huge move by Turkey, or something within the range of what was very likely to happen, given NATO and EU pressure on Turkey.
Why do American Jews largely vote for Democrats, while Israeli leaders seem to favor militaristic, Republican American politicians. Isn’t there a pretty big disconnect there?
@Dork: Because Jews aren’t a monolithic block or hive mind. American Jews don’t think the same as the Israeli government. They’re not the same thing at all.
@Dork: Did you read Peter Beinart’s article The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment?
Bill E Pilgrim
Most of the people killed on the ship were Turks.
I’m sure it’s a solace to them that their government and Israel aren’t officially in conflict though.
because the Republican party is home to Klansmen, Stormfronters, and Alex Jones infowarriors, all stone antisemites.
Plus, Palin, Hagee and the pre-trib fundies who “love Israel” primarily as a staked goat to bring on teh Rapture.
The Jews have between 1 and 2 standard deviations on mean population IQ– they ain’t stupid.
The CIA Factbook says 98.9 of the turkish population is nominally muslim.
Obama better roll up Bush’s War on Islam quicklike or US relations with Turkey will be about as good as US relations with Iran.
@Scott: I understand the independence of American Jews, so far removed from the homeland. I guess I dont know the origin of Jewish support for the Democratic party, other than perhaps it tends to have fewer batshit insane anti-Semitic members.
Is there a particular plank/pledge of the Democratic Party that resonates with American Jews?
its funny..when the stench of dirty Muslims withers away when it comes to Weiner wanting to fuck a Muslim..ie in this case, Huma Abedin, the Pakistani American who happens to be Hillary secratarial sidekick. Weiner and Abedin are currently dating. maybe Huma can fuck some sensibility into him.
I’ll never understand why it’s considered a sign of “friendship” to enable the worst behavior of your friend. If America sees Israel committing suicide, we should try to stop them. We shouldn’t try to back them up in their effort. This is why I thought France and Germany were America’s best friends in the world back in 2002- they told us that invading Iraq was crazy, and they were right. Britain, meanwhile, drove off the cliff with us. That’s loyal, but it’s not the best thing a friend can do for you.
Financing Israel’s behavior at this point is like financing a heroin addict’s addiction. A real friend would take the junkie to rehab. I don’t know what the equivalent would be for Israel, but when we see Israel engaging in suicidal actions, encouraging them to keep at it isn’t the best way to handle things.
I’ve heard this many times and it makes sense so I don’t understand why Dems are visibly and vocally going against the president on his so-called treatment of Israel?
This fool is about to learn what a threat of being labeled “anti-Semite” in American politics will make US pols say and do. If Turkey thinks they can angle the US in their direction as opposed to Israel’s, they’re profoundly misunderstanding the power of the Jewish lobby. Unless they have more sway and power in the Iraq situation than I’m aware of….
OT: Japan’s PM stepping down? Eric Clemons over at TPM says Obama took him down. The comments agree that its all Obama’s fault.
I am not Jewish, but my take/observation has long been that a combination of a long Jewish tradition of social justice combined with the fact that Dems traditionally have been more welcoming to minorities, and dispite the fact that most American Jews are far removed from the day when they are routinely treated like a minority they still seem to feel it in their bones, leads them to vote Dem.
I think any American who likes sane governance should be voting Democratic at this point. Don’t you?
No one should assume that the old-line Jewish lobby in DC represents the views of the majority of American Jews. Seventy to eighty percent of American Jews are liberals, and they are, right now, asking themselves: “If right-wing religious militarism is the answer, what was the question?”
Solid Larison piece — except for the conclusion.
Not at all clear that it is the “uncritical automatic backing that enables the worst instincts” of Israel’s conservative governments. I mean, c’mon — suppose we threatened Israel publicly with reducing our support? We all know what would happen then, the Israelis would get even tougher and double down to show defiance…and then guys like Larison would be writing “it is the uncritical automatic confrontation by the U.S. that reinforces the worst instincts” of Israel’s government.
When you come down to it, Israel has a lot of very tough very determined people who have been hammered and threatened and trodden on and they’re just as hard as nails. They are not gonna back down, no matter what. So it’s very difficult for me to buy the notion that just because America supports what is the only democracy in the region, the only nation in the middle east that doesn’t seem to be secretly funding jihadis to blow up Americans, this is what makes the Israelis such hard cases.
What makes the Israelis such hard cases is that in 1948 the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem told the Israelis he was going to massacre them all. What makes the Israelis such hard cases is that they got invaded without warning in 1967 and then again in 1973. What makes the Israelis such hard cases is that an awful lot of those people came from Europe where their parents were gassed and hurled into ovens and they’ve seen first-hand what happens when you roll over for bullies and thugs.
The other problem with Larison’s piece here is — what’s America’s option? What’s our Plan B? OK, let’s say we threaten to decrease support for Israel in some tangible way, like not sending them as many planes and bombs and other military hardware. Great. So now what? You actually think the Israelis are going to suddenly roll over and wag their tails like little puppy dogs and start licking our feet? C’mon, no self-respecting state does that, you threaten a modern democratic state like Israeli and the public will get so pissed off at the U.S. they’ll come back at you twice as hard and double down and call your bluff. So now what happens?
America pulls its military support, I guarantee you inside 3 weeks, Egypt or Syria or the Saudis will roll right over Israel’s borders and there’ll be war again. Who does that help? How does that fix things in the middle east? We’ve already got wild-eyed jihadis screaming “Death to the great Satan!” in moques in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Egypt, we’ve already got 16-year-old kids suicide-bombing Israel, oil prices are already $80 a barrel and headed higher — you want $400 a barrel oil? PUll U.S. military support for Israel, you got yourself another Arab-Israel war, that’s the ticket for $400 a barrel oil right there.
So as a practical matter, what do we actually do? We can cajole Israel, we can bluster and threaten ’em, we can publicly excoriate ’em, but as a matter of practical reality, they’re the only democracy in the region whose interests are even remotely aligned with ours. They’re the only country in the middle east that isn’t setting up training camps and sub rosa funding for guys who want to fly 757s into our skyscrapers. You may not like Israel and you may despise their treatment of the Palestians and you may hate the way they keep building settlements, but one thing the Israelis haven’t done is murder 3500 Americans by flying jet planes into our skyscrapers.
Larison is sharp but his conclusion seems bogus. There aren’t a lot of good options here. I don’t know how anyone is supposed to put pressure on the Israelis when they’re the only democracy in the entire region. Do we really want the Israelis to go under? Does anybody really think these hard-as-nails guys in the Mossad will just roll over and say, “Yeah, better become America’s bitch”? Somebody really thinks things will improve in the middle east if the U.S. yanks military funding to Israel and the Arabs invade and Hamas — mind you, Hamas — becomes the government of Israel? I seriously don’t think that’s going to work for oil prices. I seriously doubt that will bring stability to the middle east, because, you know, these Hamas guys who run around suicide-bombing Israelis today, if they formed a stable state with a nice self-suporting economy, the first thing Hamas would do is start suicide-bombing other Arabs. Because they guys are fanatics, and in the same way that Bin Laden went after the Saudis and started blowing up their apartment blocks after 9/11, I guaran-fvckin’-tee you Hamas would start going after other Arabs the instant they got their own stable economically viable state.
The Israelis really screwed the pooch with that attack on the Turkish relief ship. I haven’t seen any Israelis strapping on plastique belts to blow up any Arab pizza parlors, though. Israeli may not be much in the way of an ally in the region, but, jeez…look at the alternatives. The Israelis know this. They’ve got us over a barrel. What the hell’s our choice to continued military support of Israel? We can try to talk tough, but what in the end can we really do?
Via Atrios, I believe this sentence is the Platonic Ideal of FAIL:
Why do most minority groups vote for democrats? Only stupid, fucked up, brain dead morons vote for republicans. Very few jews fall into that category.
I am sure a lot of Jews love Israel, but anyone with half a brain realizes that republican policy wrt Israel will lead to more violence and destruction and nothing good will come out of it. Democrats are not much better, but they are the better choice. At least Democratic presidents (Carter and Clinton) tried to bring bring peace to the region. Republicans don’t even bother.
well, we can stop talking tough on Israel’s behalf. we don’t have to vociferously defend every stupid fucking thing it does, in every arena, without question, immediately, all the time. we have many good, close, allies that we do not keep tucked under our arm.
we could let Israel defend itself in the political and diplomatic realm while pledging to defend it militarily should the need arise – exactly as we do with all of our other allies. but to act as Israel’s protector in issues where there is no military threat is above and beyond.
we should let Israel be the independent country it claims to be.
@dmsilev: So don’t leave us hanging? What does it say? “Israel killed a buncha’ terrorists on da boat donchaknow. Also.”?
I see this as a kind of Truman vs. MacArthur moment. It’s about who’s in charge and Obama doesn’t look like he is. He should condemn these actions and send American warships to escort the humanitarian aid in. He can’t fire Netanyahu, but he can sure as hell give him a stern, hard swift kick in the balls and I think he really needs to do that.
I’d like to think the reason most Jews (myself included) vote for Democrats is because the GOP has absolutely nothing to offer us or any other Americans. Republicans are bigots, liars and hypocrites of the highest order. Their ideas are poison for the country. Everything they touch turns to shit.
Why would any sane and informed person NOT vote for a Democrat given the alternative?
So my question is, why does the US support Israel uncritically no matter what it does? And has this always been the case.
The problem I see with American Judaism is the exact same problem I see with American Christianity: while there are plenty of sane, level, loving followers and adherents of the religion amongst the masses, its agreed-upon “leaders” are all batshit insane wingers, and they’re the ones that get to shape how public perception of their respective religions plays out in regards to political muscling.
Thus, we get folks like Perkins, Robertson, the late Falwell, etc. determining what is ‘Christian’ in the large public discourse and thus painting Dems as hostile to Christians, and then we get our American Jewish leadership who essentially side with the Likudniks and are able to browbeat any American pol with the Anti-Semite hammer.
Well, they don’t have to.
That’s what they use the guns and bombs and missiles and helicopters we give them for.
@mclaren: On the flip side, the US’s uncritical support of Israel is a pretty big reason why so many muslims are willing to attack us.
Oh, so now we’re buying the bell curve and ethnic determinants of intelligence?
You’re forgetting the fact that their party is also home to holocaust deniers, like the asshole Pat Buchanan that “reasonable conservative” Larison works for. The most normal of Republicans is a walking freakshow and borderline evil; they only get worse from that point on. That party draws the mentally ill and hateful the way shit draws flies.
matoko_chan has always been thus.
Is there a particular plank/pledge of the Democratic Party that resonates with American Jews?
Yup, Sarah Palin, John Hagee, and Alex Jones are planks of the republican party.
American jews vote the anyone-but-those-guys platform.
Plus Jews don’t like WECs.
The GOP is prolly 80% WEC right now.
In the very good (not great) film “Paradise Now”, a young, idealistic Palestinian woman tries to convince a young man signing up for a suicide mission not to do it. She cites the Koranic prohibition against suicide, and the hopelessness of taking on such a strong military, he yells, “If we had F-16s, we wouldn’t need suicide bombers.”
Jewish terrorist groups in the 1930s and 1940s had no trouble blowing shit up in British-controlled Palestine, whether it was the King David Hotel, bus stops, or coffeeshops where British troops would hang out.
Nor did the government of a newly independent Israel have much of a crisis of conscience when faced with a Jewish terrorist threat. Israel sank a boatload of Irgun men it regarded as a challenge to its authority in the Altalena Affair.
aww too many links.
can u plz fish my comment out of moderation, Cole?
@me: The first paragraph of Sarah’s statement:
In other news, today we report the tragic death by suicide of irony.
If you can’t get the history right how do you expect to get the politics right.
Israel was not attacked without warning in the Six Day War. In fact Israel initiated the war. The standard reason given is that it did so pre-emptively, but to state that Israel was invaded without warning is a perverse inversion of the truth.
The Yom Kippur War in 1973 was indeed a surprise attack for the Israelis, and it remains the only major hostilities involving Israel which were not in fact initiated by Israel.
Mythologising Israel’s history in order to paint it in a more flattering light does nobody any favours, least of all Israel.
@someguy: ah yes, the lysenkian bioluddites of the balloon-juice alternative universe.
read dr. cochran plz.
August J. Pollak
Of all the pieces of whiny non-logic you get from apologists for Israeli military atrocities, this is by far the most annoying one.
Why is this a counterpoint? Israel- which has an army and billions of military funding from the United States, sets up blockades both on land and at sea, and has the technology to destroy large facilities from the air… doesn’t use suicide bombers? Really? That’s some grad-paper-level military analysis, right there.
It’s like the racists who spread that glurge e-mail about how there “are so many more Israeli novelists, playwrights, Nobel winners, etc.” than there are Palestinians, which of course has nothing to do with Israel not, you know, letting them build goddamn schools properly.
Umm, neither have any Palestinians.
Because American Jews are interested in remaining in America, and prefer to see that the society remains plural for them.
Lest we forget, in June 1947 they lynched two captured British soldiers, Sergeants Martin and Paice.
One of the soldiers cutting the bodies down from the tree was severely injured by an explosion, the bodies had been booby trapped with explosives.
So yes, there are presumably some Israelis still alive who know the true meaning of “lynching”.
Because there is a large contingent of people in the United States who are either:
a. Fearful and distrustful of all Muslims/Arabs/Persians/Turks/etc.
b. Blindly loyal to the State of Israel out of religious ideas about the Apocalypse and the fear of a divine curse if we criticize any of their actions.
c. Cynical politicians who will jump at the chance to validate the narrative they’ve spun that Obama and Democrats want to spoon with our enemies (i.e. any Muslims) and spurn our friends.
d. Political realists who won’t dare risk a public backlash unless they have no choice.
Yup, all the WECs are in the GOP.
Jews prettymuch hate WECs.
“America pulls its military support, I guarantee you inside 3 weeks, Egypt or Syria or the Saudis will roll right over Israel’s borders and there’ll be war again.”
It is to laugh. I would love to take that bet.
Inside three decades might make the bet interesting.
The fucking American media is totally in the pocket of the Israel lobby for one thing.
And sadly, many people who are progressive on most issues, like Anthony Weiner are willing to blindly defend Israel, no matter how heinous its crimes. I don’t know if Weiner truly believes the nonsense he spouts on this subject, or if this is what he feels he must do to be re-elected in his district.
Yeah, because those Israeli nukes are just a big figment, yanno?
@August J. Pollak:
True. To be fair, though, an awful lot of Palestinians were seen on camera dancing in the streets and handing out baclava on September 11th, and that gets mentioned every time that Israel commits some atrocity that kills civilians.
“They are all terrorist assholes who have it coming”…etc etc.
I find I have to be rather nuanced in dealing with this argument, and nuance does not work well in America and especially not with the Palin/Hagee/Faux News sorts.
I was not at all happy to see Palestinians rejoicing in the deaths on 9/11. I accept that many of those people are likely determined enemies of this country in an least a political sense. The fact that the Palestinians in Gaza elected a vicious, terrorist entity such as Hamas does not speak well for their understanding of the basis of democratic government at all (Hamas immediately purged and murdered the Fatah candidates and supporters…)
Regardless, this cannot be used as any moral pretext for using artillery on civilian populations, running over women and children with bulldozers, confiscating property and denying the importation of clothing and foodstuffs.
Israel seems to have taken a page from British WW II Air Marshall “Bomber” Harris’ playbook in an effort to wage a war of both physical destruction and “culturcide” against the Palestinian people.
Except for all those Dolphin submarines with nuclear tipped HAVE-NAP missiles, not to mention the Jericho I and Jericho II missiles…
This bullshit again?
Blacks vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. In the last election, a majority of non-Hispanic whites voted for John McCain.
What’s that do for your theories?
He really is magic. Obviously. I’ve read his article twice, yet I’m still no clearer on how Obama forced him out.
By modern US standards, it’s not much of a democracy, given that it has second class citizens.
Do you have some peverse desire in making yourself look like an idiot? You know absolutely nothing about the middle east.
God, you’re a bigger idiot than I thought.
Anyone writing on the subject who has half a brain knows that Israel struck first in 1967.
The Jews that do were apparently seven Ministers who came up with and approved the flotilla plan.
You also clearly know absolutely, positively nothing about the respective strengths of the militaries in the middle east. (Apart from the fact that Israel is the only one who has nukes there, as another commenter pointed out.)
Yeah, they do it the old fashioned-way, like occasionally invading Lebanon and murdering thousands of people like they did in 1982.
For that analogy to work, the Palestinians would need at least military parity, if not superiority. Sorry, no sale.
Rather, Israel is taking a more Austrian approach to the problem.
There’s also some evidence that some Israelis with interesting connections—who somehow were in NJ (IIRC) in a place that gave them a good view of lower Manhatten—were dancing happily on 9-11.
Let’s see, the powerful supporter of the entity that made you into a refugee actually has a suffer a penalty? If they had not been happy I’d have been afraid they had learned to love the abuser.
When I observe that ‘these are interesting times’, I’m not saying it fondly.
Turkey has it within it’s grasp to break NATO. If it follows through with it’s statement and has Turkish Naval vessels accompany another trip to Gaza, NATO could be over. We all know Israel would attack the Turkish boat. Turkey as a NATO member then has it within it’s power to ask the other NATO member’s for help under NATO’s Article 5. That’s the very same article that has NATO nations serving in Afghanistan & Iraq right now. If NATO balked (ie – the US), NATO is fini.
The ashkenazi test out smarter than the norm. The sephardim test out average, or below if they grew up in N. Africa or Spain. That’s if you buy the racist construct of IQ tests to begin wiht. But if it makes you feel better to say Jews are smarter than us gentiles, go right ahead, dumbass. Doesn’t shock me you’re an Israeli apologist, your comments about race and intelligence convinced me you’re a racist.
Ahh. The Troof will out, huh?
Probably everyone here is following Juan Cole anyway, but just in case there’s more developments.
Boy, I sure agree with that. America needs to condemn Israel’s piracy and murder here hard and fast and keep hammering away at how wrong it is and how unacceptable it is.
Trouble is, that’s not really doing anything. It’s just talk. The Israelis hear that, they shrug and say to one another “Of course the Americans are condemning us, they have to — it’s just international politics.” And the Israelis don’t change one damn bit.
Somebody called me an “apologist.”
Try again, buckaroos. Israel committed piracy and murder. The U.S. needs to call for not just an impartial investigation, but for the arrest of the Israeli soldiers who murdered those people on that Gaza-bound freighter. Those IDF soldiers who shot unarmed people need to be bound over for trial at the international court at The Hague. The IDF attacked that freighter in international waters, which makes it piracy, pure and simple.
There’s a well-recognized set of procedures for warning a ship away, incidentally, and the Israelis didn’t follow ’em. Fire a shot across the bow. (Nope) Steer a parallel course to try to force the other vessel off course. (Nope)
My point is that when Israel says “Hell no, we won’t hand those soldiers over to you and we won’t change our behavior,” we don’t have a lot of options. We can talk tough, we can publicly condemn Israel’s grotesque behavior, but short of cutting off their aid, we can’t actually do anything. The Israelis have us over a barrel after 9/11 because they’re our only real friend in the region (though with this kind of shitty criminality, how much of a “friend” Israel really is starts to get real questionable).
@mclaren: Actually, Turkey is our only real friend in the region and thanks to our deranged, parasitic relationship with Israel, we’ve told them to fuck off.
Doubtful. It’s pretty likely they hate our guts too because we’re assholes, just that they need to suck up to us to get into the EU, and they needed NATO to keep their people from rising up and shaking hands with the Sovs. You think they’re our friend? Think again.
Our resident crackpot 9/11 truther “Liberal” gibbered:
Oh, so your grand idea is that when America stops military aid and the Arabs attack to try to finish what they started in 1973, Israel fires off…nuclear weapons?
How stupid are you?
Did you go through the express lane at birth — “15 IQ POINTS OR LESS”?
If the 20th century proved anything, it’s that retaliating with nuclear weapons to a conventional attack is a recipe for escalation that ends in WW III. That’s insane. Try again, troll, you’re making a fool of yourself.
As well as being a nutcase 9/11 truther, our friend Liberal is an ignorant liar:
As usual, Mr. 9/11 truther linked to a “reputable” source — Wikipedia. And as usual, Wikipedia is full of garbage and misinformation. Let’s take a look at what actually on the runup to the Six Day War in 1967:
If Israel hadn’t defended itself from Arab aggression in 1967, it wouldn’t exist today. Contrary to what ignorant liars like “Liberal” claim, Israel did not launch an unprovoked attack in 1967 — in fact Israel had much less provocation to act than America did during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (America started the Cuban missile crisis when we first set up missiles aimed at the USSR in Turkey. Egypt had no such provocation for massing on the Israeli border, nor did Syria when it massed its troops on the Golan heights in 1967 and prepared to attack.)
These kinds of stupid lies make you look ridiculous, Liberal, but since you’re already heavily into the whole 9/11 truther thing, I guess that’s a moot point.
Waiting for Liberal to explain how the Twin Towers were actually disintegrated by the Mossad using a Sooper Sekrit eeeevil Zionist space platform armed with (wait for it!) phaser beams in…3…2…1…
@someguy: I guess it depends on how you define friend. We have a mutual defense treaty, bases on their soil and we’ve staged forces from those bases. Thats sure a hell of a lot more then Israel has ever done.
You’re absolutely right. Turkey is the shining example of a progressive secular Islamic country in that part of the world and was one of our best allies in the region, and now we’ve pissed in their faces by the way we’re reacting to this incident. America’s behavior is insane and stupid. Almost as insane and stupid as Israel’s.
I don’t know what the hell the Israelis thought they were doing. I don’t understand why America’s ambassador to the UN isn’t strongly condemning Israel’s piracy and murder in the UN and every other public forum.
Between American lawyers writing legal opinions defending torture and the assassination of U.S. citizens without charges or a trial, and the Israelis turning into pirates and murderers and attacking a humanitarian freighter carrying a Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate and a former U.S. congresswoman and a Jewish Holocaust survivor, it’s starting to look like everyone on the planet has gone nuts. Did someone spike the entire world’s water supply with LSD? I mean, what the hell? This kind of behavior is so insane, no words exist in the English language to adequately describe this level of insanity.
@mclaren: If someone calls you an apologist, you might want to consider the crazy notion that it might be because of all the other stuff you said, rather than anything about the raid on the ship. I mean, you just wrote at length about how Israel has no choice but to be aggressive hardasses in general, because otherwise all the Arabs would invade and kill them and Hamas would become the government of Israel. You said that Israel is “our only real friend in the region,” whatever that means– apparently it’s not related to Israel being nice to us, or giving us things, or keeping the area peaceful, or doing anything we ask them to do (or even not attacking U.S. naval vessels, fergawdsake, something most of our worst enemies have managed not to do in the last 50 years)… although the relationship certainly does help out our munitions industry, so there is that. And you said that every other country in the Middle East is “setting up training camps and sub rosa funding for guys who want to fly 757s into our skyscrapers,” and excused Israel’s behavior by saying that at least they’re not Al Qaeda (at least I assume you meant Al Qaeda, though it sure looked like you were suggesting that Palestinians were responsible for 9/11).
You really can’t imagine why anyone would call you an apologist? And you’re the same mclaren who thinks that if anyone here disagrees with you on any aspect of a police brutality story, regardless of how strongly they agree on the rest, then it’s okay to call everyone a bunch of fascist cop-worshipers? Oh balls.
Yeah, it’s nice that you agree about this one thing that happened this week. Too bad it doesn’t seem to have encouraged you to rethink anything.
@kindness: I thought that for Article 5 to be invoked, the attack on the NATO ally had to be in Europe or in the northern Atlantic ocean.
@Hob: I agree with you for the most part, except about the nonsense that I’m some kind of apologist for Israel.
Israel has not been much of a friend to us. Turkey has treated us a lot better — while we’ve treated Turkey a lot worse than we have Israel. It’s bizarre. And baffling.
I do think history shows that the Arabs in the middle east have a long history of annihilationist rhetoric and military buildups and military attacks on Israel. If you don’t agree, you may want to re-read your mid-20th-century history.
That does not make Israel’s constant helicopter and jet fighter attacks on the Gaza strip morally justifiable. That does not excuse Israel’s apparent indifference to all the innocent civilians the IDF has killed when it overreacts to those Hamas rocket attacks. Less than 10 Israeli civilians have died in all the rocket attacks, as I understand it, an order of magnitude less than the number of innocent Palestinians Israel has killed with its helicopter gunships.
That’s all absolutely true.
The whole situation is a mess. Somebody wrote that Israel was a good idea at the start. Maybe, but, boy, when the Israelis forced Palestinians off their land and murdered Palestinian farmers back in the 1948 to scare the rest into fleeing, that was a poisonous start to whole state of Israel. The Stern Gang were just as much terrorists when they perpetrated guerilla attacks against the British in the 1940s as Hamas is today when it launches terror attacks against Israel.
I don’t think there are good answers or easy solutions here. The Palestinians had their lands and homes stolen from them. European Jews were looking for a refuge from the Holocaust after WW II and they thought if they set up their own Jewish state, maybe a future Holocaust could be prevented. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s a giant mess.
Obviously the current freighter attack by the IDF is an atrocity and needs to be unanimously condemned by the entire UN general assembly, as well as the Security Council.
Highly unlikely to come to military conflict, but if it does, how will the ‘Israel Uber Alles’ Americans seek to rationalize backing out from support of our NATO ally? (and yes, I realize the words in quotes are in very poor taste, but how much longer will the Israeli tail wag the American dog?)
And lets remind our pro-Israel neocons that in the event of military conflict our failure to support our NATO ally will exhibit a dangerous lack of will that can encourage international terrorists.
@p.a.: Becuase Israel is the greatest ever and shut up, that’s why.
@kindness: If Turkey does in fact send an armed escort with another aid ship (ignoring a boatload of arm twisting by the US no doubt to do it), all Israel has to do is wait until the flotilla gets within their territorial waters before responding. At that point NATO is off the hook because Turkey is the one who is instigating the act of war. Article 5 only counts if you were attacked first. If you are the one who sails your warships into someone else’s territorial waters then you are the one picking the fight, and it is officially your own damn problem. NATO is a mutual defense pact, not a “we will gang up on the same people pact”.
And before you say Afghanistan or Iraq, the US sold those (officially) as threats to the United States based on contravention of UN demands. In Afghanistan’s case this was reasonable, in Iraq’s case it was the flimsiest of legal fig leaves, and the US only got away with it by being the superpower and throwing their real-politic weight around, and even then it massively disillusioned and distanced its allies.
I’m thinking that Turkey has no intentions whatsoever to follow up on its comments about accompanying another flotilla with naval vessels, unless some demonstration agreement is reached with Israel to do a kabuki accompaniment until reaching close enough to Israel, at which point the ships will be forcibly escorted to the Israeli-preferred ports.
Turkey’s earlier statement on ‘normalization’ I cited does not indicate an obstinate approach.
amnesia pills and logic pills all around…
Thomas Friedman likes likes to say “9 months and 19 years”, and i like to add “with a helping of collective amnesia”..
We could begin a new history just rehashing old history of who did what to whom first and who’s the more hard done by faction… i’ve yet to see someone change their mind on the subject…
I’ve known Palestinian’s that have told me plenty of stories about how Israel was birthed, i’ve known Holocaust survivors that would tell me as many heart wrenching tales…
no good deed goes unpunished Turkey…. now you’re being accused of conspiring with al qaeda…. yay you
I’m pretty damn sure you are right. Was a fun thought while it lasted.
@Ecks: Are the waters off Gaza Israeli territory?
Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos
@Bob: Whether Gaza is fully a part of Israel or a belligerent foreign entity depends entirely on what Israel is doing today, and which interpretation most conveniently justifies whatever atrocity du jour is on the menu.
Gazans want food and building supplies? Sorry, those are Israeli waters, please deliver them to this warehouse so we can properly trickle the supplies in at a rate to best keep the palestinians hungry and miserable. Raining missiles and gunfire over Gaza until no brick lays on top of another? It’s a foreign nation and we’re at war.
As with most things involving this conflict, it’s very simple. Israel is always right, in every sense, forever and ever.
@mclaren: Yes, it sure is weird and unfair for people to have responded at, say, 10:31 a.m. to the big block of apologist boilerplate that you wrote at 9:42 a.m., indistinguishable from standard neocon bullshit, including claims that Hamas would take over Israel if it ever dropped its guard and that every single Arab country is a sponsor of terrorism (yes, those were things you literally said)… rather than to the considerably more reasonable and nuanced things you wrote hours later.
People can’t fucking read your mind. If you believe that it’s a long complicated story where everyone is at fault and that Israel is often foolish and paranoid, but what you actually say is that Israel is basically justified in whatever it does (except maybe this one thing this week) because otherwise the Arabs will kill them all, then people are going to react to what you said there, which was straight-up apologism. You can follow up with “Don’t get me wrong, I really agree with y’all about X/Y/Z”… fine. But this thing of insulting everyone at the same time as you do that, as if they should’ve known all along what you really meant, makes you sound like either a major asshole or just kind of confused.
I’m not commenting on relative intelligence levels, but I’m introspective enough to know that white, non-Hispanic males (particularly those over 45) are a huge threat to this country and without the steadying influence of, well, everyone else, we’d be in big trouble.
There seems to be a lot of confusion here about what a Jew is (not that there isn’t a lot of confusion among Jews about the same thing.) Let’s say you’re like me: secular, have never been to a synagogue, think most Israelis (including the entire labor party) are nuts. I’m still as Jewish as the guy wearing the black hat in the Yeshiva. This isn’t true of my non-Jewish atheist friends – they rightly don’t see themselves as christians.
So when WECs or catholic bishops attempt to influence US (or Israeli) policy, they are, to some extent reflecting the opinions of their larger group. But when conservative (in the religious sense) Jews do the same thing, they’re by no means representing all Jews – they are representing to some extent conservative Jews, and that’s it.
The problem is then that secular Jews don’t attach the same importance to Israel as the religious groups do. Israel comes up about 26th on my list of concerns about political candidates. So the AIPAC agenda is driven by right-wing religious Jews who also happen to be big political donors who will turn the tap off if Netanyahu doesn’t get his way. The other 70%+ of Jews are unmoved, and so they share the blame despite having none of the power.
It is important to keep in mind the ethnic and religious makeup of Jewish communities in the US and in Israel. The US is almost entirely Ashkenazi, while Israel has significant Sephardi/Mizrahi and Russian communities. The Russians have turned out to be incredibly right-wing – much as they are in the US. So Israeli politics have shifted to a place that has little in common with US jews.
Netanyahu has already rolled over Obama more than once. He knows the administration has little stomach for any fight and even there was Bibi hasn’t had much trouble outmaneuvering Obama in the past. As for Congress, I’m inclined to give the New Yorkers like Weiner a pass for obvious reasons but I don’t know what’s going on with the others.
I don’t know what pressure (or bribery) was brought to bear by the US but Turkey seems to be backing down at least as far as an infuriated populace will allow. No doubt the Israeli government predicted as much. It remains to be seen if anything will come of the new spotlight on the Gaza blockade, which everyone including Obama and Congress was pleased to ignore.
Mark, this white, non-Hispanic male is going to have to shoot you now.
What I said is factually accurate and reasonable. All of it.
If you or anyone else thinks that if the U.S. finally stopped giving Israel military aid, the Arab countries around Israel would behave with sweet reason, you’re deluded or ignorant. History shows that the Arab countries surrounding Israeli are virulently anti-Semitic to the point of genocidal mania. K-12 textbooks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia describe Jews as “pigs” and “dogs” who must be wiped from the face of the earth. Egyptian crossword puzzles suggest that the key Jewish trait is “treachery.” The Palestinian Authory broadcast Zayed bin Sultan Aal Nahyan’s Friday sermon that included this charming passage:
Arab leaders have a long long history of murderous annihilationist rhetoric against Israel. The Arab countries surrounding Israel have a history of unprovoked attacks against Israel.
None of that justifies Israeli murder of innocent Palestinian civilians. None of that justifies Israeli’s stealing Palestinian farms and murdering Palestinian farmers to start the state of Israel. None of that justifies atrocities like the IDF attack on the Gaza freighter, or for that matter Israel’s ongoing policy of brutalization and embargo against the Palestinians by choking off basic medical supplies and building materials and other essentials from delivery into the Gaza strip.
It also happens to be true that every single Arab country IS a sponsor of terrorism. Every. Single. One. Saudi Arabia runs a huge unofficial financing program whereby billions of petrodollars get collected from private Saudi citizens and funneled into funding terrorists. Real terrorists. Guys who strap on plastique and blow themselves up in Israeli pizza parlors. All the other Arab countries run similar covert funding programs for terrorism: the UAE, Qatar, Quwait, all of them. Syria and Sudan and Iran have all been state sponsors of terrorism since the U.S. state department’s inception of the list of state-supporter terrorism, and they still are. There’s not a single Arab country in the middle east that doesn’t financially support terrorism, and many middle eastern countries, like Syria and Iran, are open state supporters of terrorism.
7 out of the 19 most repressive governments in the world are Arab governments in the middle east. 5 out of the 7 state sponsors of terrorism are Arab countries in the middle east (America lists Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, which is absurd, and North Korea, which is accurate — North Korea is the only non-middle-eastern country on the list aside from Cuba). These are facts. You may not like ’em, and that doesn’t change the reality that they are facts. Egypt routinely tortures its own citizens and exists under a dictatorship. Syria has existed under emergency law since 1963 with the constitution suspended. Saudi Arabia uses torture and repression against its own law and is a monarchy with no elections and no actual constitutional rights for its citizens and no democracy. And so on.
None of this excuses Israel’s brutalities and atrocities. It’s a bad situation. There are no good guys in the Israel-vs-Palestinians story.
The middle east isn’t a simple easy black-and-white story. Maybe it’s nice for you, Hob, to delude yourself into fantasizing that the Israelis are evil ogres and the Palestinians are the good guys, or maybe you prefer seeing the Palestinians as subhuman monsters who launch terror attacks against the innocent helpless angelic Israelis, but neither view is supported by the facts. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have perpetrated countless atrocities toward one another. It’s a horrible cycle of violence, and the other Arab countries in the middle east keep making the situation worse by financially and covertly supporting anti-semitic anti-Israeli terrorism.
Unfortunately, most of what the other Arab countries in the middle say about how Israel was illegitimately created by stealing Palestinian land and by brutalizing and murdering Palestinian farmers happens to be true. On the other hand, it would be very pleasant to imagine that the annihilationist anti-Semitism of the Arab countries in the middle east is merely and purely a reaction to Israel’s unjustified attacks against Palestinian civilians and Israel’s general brutality toward the population of Gaza, but the fact also happens to be that the existence of Israel is extremely politically convenient for the Arab countries in the middle east. There’s a long history of Arab countries with savagely repressive dictatorships giving their oppressed population a way of relieving their frustrations by ginning up murderous annihilationist rhetoric against Israel.
How you get from these to concluding that I’m spewing out “standard neocon apologist” boilerplate can only be explained by conjectures that would involve your use of controlled hallucinogenic substances.
@someguy: i am not an Israeli apologist.
let me inform you, the Israelis and the Turks both got what they wanted.
The unstated goal of the flotilla was to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The unstated goal of the Israelis was to break up the budding US/Turkey relationship.
Both sides succeded.
Israel is more and more like that crazy ex-gf the US can’t seem to let down easy.
I wondered why Obama was so politic in his non-condemnation, even to angering our vastly more important regional ally, Turkey.
I think if Israel senses impending American disengagement…..they will nuke a uranium enrichment site in Iran. They do care quite a bit about what American jews think. And American jews are pretty divergent and there is a lot of questioning of Israeli policy. An emerging trend.
So Israel might go right from “you don’t love me any more” to “i’ll make you love me, or at least force you to defend me in a global thermonuclear war before its too late”.
a perceptive comment on this thread.
if Obama had condemned them they might have launched already.
And im not a racist.
Im an IQist.
i hate stupid people.
@matoko_chan: and that will be a real problem, because Turkey has a real military. It’s not a cheap tin can we can roll up like Iraq or Iran.
Why shoot me? I’m also a white, non-hispanic male. As a group, we voted 60% R in 2000, 62% in 2004 and 57% in 2008. I think Johnson in 1964 was the last time a (D) got 50% of our vote. We’ve been on the wrong side of history for decades.
The only thing that makes this country bearable is that women, people under 30 and people who aren’t white are not quite as stupid as white men.
5000 dead soljahs from the finest military on the planet wasn’t cheap.
A trillion dollars wasn’t cheap.
100000 + dead muslim citizens wasn’t cheap.
we will be paying for Iraq for a long time.
and we haven’t even set foot in Iran lately.
we don’t dare.
Still a lot of bad blood from Operation Ajax and the american puppet-tyrant Shah.
You know, most of what goes on in the mideast is best explained via zionism. I use the term in a universal sense, regarding all three of the religion’s Return prophecies or traditions: return of Jesus, the Mahdi, and the Christ (is that the right word to describe the first coming, assuming any jewish people are still waiting? Lion of Judah, perhaps?).
Wake me when they rebuild the temple…
On a more empirical note, what ought the US to do in case of war between Turkey and Israel? No chance of it, of course, for the US will somehow pay off the Turks (likely with more and cheaper heroin?) on hearing the sounds of any saber-rattling. Just as food for thought, disregarding the outcries of our jewish govt. officials, our state hatred of muslims, and our christian faith in the return of Jesus, what would be the best move for the country in the event of open warfare? Do we wait until there is no more Istanbul?
Further, what would Israel do? I expect they would lose in the subsequent dogpile, but surely they would attempt to nuke everything from the Bosporus to Cairo to Tehran.
@Ash Can: @Dork:
Why is that??? Demorcractic views only hurt us and Rebuplican was what we started with…actually the Founding Fathers that broke away from Great Britian and brought the Union creating the US….them being all Christians and technology and bibicaly their only Jews the chosen and the Gentiles which is all of us……so we do the Democratics screw it up???????
I see where your goig with this, unfortunately Armegedon says the Temple shall be rebuild and all shall support Iseral and you shall not go against Iseral……personally I support Iseral!!!
Question…and statement…..We as US citizen are alwyas involved in every asspect in the world…in mos incidents it is a good cause and good UN support….but we owe more money to Japan than any other country there is…..