public sentiment turning even further against israel

The most recent flare-up between Israel and the Palestinian territories has been going for four days now. According to recent United Nations reports, 4 Israelis and more than 350 Palestinians have been killed. Of those, it looks like 3 Israelis and 60 Palestinians were civilians. And, to make matters worse, it looks like it’s just the beginning. According to Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, this was just “phase one” of the air strikes destined for Gaza.

One of the few people in the U.S. government to suggest that the Israeli response was disproportionate, considering the toll of the Palestinian attacks, was Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinch, who said today that the air strikes from Israel in response to Palestinian rocket attacks was “indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law.”

The specifics can be debated, but general consensus outside of Washington seems to be that Israel has gone to far. In evidence of that, the most viewed picture on the internet today is of a Palestinian apartment building blown to bits in an Israeli air strike. Israel claims to be justified in this particular attack, which they claim was against a Hamas member in the northern Gaza Strip, but it’s clear from the image that many others likely died. The sense I’m getting from jumping around online tonight is that Israel has crossed the line — what with their using kids as human shields and ramming relief boats headed for Gaza. It’s gotten so bad that, even observant Jews are beginning to question their support for Israel.

Unfortunately for us, the folks covering the story here in the sates seem to have “a stunningly superficial knowledge” of the region, the history and the context.

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36 Comments

  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted December 30, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    So, are there any bloggers in Israel calling for them stop all alliances with the USA because we are too evil?

    If not, then they are totally more evil than us and we should cut bait.

  2. Chelsea
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    M,

    Are you familiar with CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Mid-East Reporting? Might want to see what they have to say on this. I hear a lot about bias.

    C

  3. Dirtgrain
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Committee for Accuracy in Mid-East Reporting–with a title like that, it has to be true. “Ministry of Truth” might be even better.

    P.S. It’s always about money.

  4. Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I guarantee you, if you talk to someone who lives in Israel, you will get a very different perspective. Not defending either side, just sayin’…

  5. mark
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    My knowledge about the issue is similarly “stunningly superficial.” And that’s why, in my post, I tried not to come down on one side or the other. I just laid out, as best I could, some of the items that seemed to be prevalent in the public discourse. My sense, having read several articles was that Israel was losing this one on the PR front in America, and that’s what I was trying to convey here – not that they were the more evil of the two sides… Personally, I think both sides have done a lot to be ashamed of.

  6. Mark H.
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Funny thing is, in Israel there is a wider range of debate on Palestinian-Israeli issues than there is in American politics. Wonder why that is? maybe it’s because the knowledge is higher and the issues are more pressingly immediate.

  7. Old Goat
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    If some morons over in Windsor where frequently lobbing bombs into my neighborhood because they didn’t think I had a right to live, I would become quickly sick of it, and would demand that something be done to stop it. I may not like what that something is, but I would support action over inaction, anytime.

  8. Brackache
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    If Israel wants their business to be our business, they’re more than welcome to become our 51st State. Same with Iraq or anyone else. Otherwise, there’s a reason all those little countries on a political map are different colors. Not our jurisdiction.

  9. Ol' E Cross
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Old Goat,

    What if they were in Windsor because you’d illegally taken their land and forced them into Windsor, deprived them of human rights, and killed their loved ones?

  10. Chelsea
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    As you can see, there’s more than one side to the story:

    http://camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=14&x_article=1573

    Now, I don’t know a thing about it, other than that’s there’s some sort of brouha over there. I present CAMERA’s view in the interest of fairness.

  11. Chelsea
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I meant “that there’s;” sorry.

  12. Kate
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I think Old Goat’s and Ol’ E Cross’ comments reflect some of the complexity of the situation over there. To get the full flavor, we’d have to go back thousands of years. But, what is the foundation of the current problem is the way the area known as Palestine was partitioned after the British Mandate ended in 1948.

    The U. N. had proposed partitioning Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Palestine as a separate nation. The Jews agreed, but the Arab nations of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan and independent armies didn’t agree. Israel was proclaimed a nation (and recognized by the U. S. as such on the same day) and the next day the British Mandate ended. The Arab nations declared war on Israel.

    Interestingly, at the end of this war, the 1949 Armistice Agreements eliminated Palestine as a distinct and separate territory. Israel got 26 percent of the land, while Jordan captured and annexed the West Bank, the Gaza Strip was captured by Egypt and the rest went to Syria and Lebanon. So, in reality, the plight of the Palestinians is the result of betrayal by fellow Arab nations, but of course they don’t see it that way. It’s that upstart Israel’s fault.

    Since the feud between Arabs and Jews goes back to the time of Abraham, literally, I don’t think we’re going to get this straightened out any time soon. The Hatfields and McCoys have nothing over these fellows.

    As to who’s right and who’s wrong this time around, I tend to stand with Old Goat. The Palestinians have been revving up for this for awhile now. Those tunnels used for smuggling in armaments needed to go.

  13. Brent
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Kate, the Hatfields and McCoys came to a truce back in 2003, so you’re absolutely right there.

  14. kjc
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Old Goat’s standing. He’s in his Cadillac.

    The Palestinians have been revving up for this for awhile now.

    Oy. I almost wish this thread had not been started…

  15. Old Goat
    Posted December 31, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Kate. No excuse for bloodshed, revenge or otherwise…and no, I can’t afford the Caddy, darn it!

  16. Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I wouldn’t be lobbing bombs at Israel. In fact, Israel is just about the last country I would ever fuck with.

    Noone else will say it, I will: Hamas is just plain stupid.

  17. Old Goat
    Posted January 1, 2009 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Yeah, might as well run out an poke at a hornets nest on a hot summer day! Hamas will not be doing anything to help the impoverished plight of their people.

  18. mark
    Posted January 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious to see how Barack Obama engages on the issue. Clearly the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians is at the heart of much that threatens peace right now around the world, but I’m not sure how much Obama can afford to be diverted right now from domestic issues. One would hate to see him invest too much in brokering peace only to have his efforts fail, and perhaps set back his domestic initiatives in the process. I hate to say it, as the issue is so critical right now, but I don’t think that Obama can afford to invest too much in the Middle East this early in his presidency… And, if he does get involved, he better be successful.

  19. mepatrickyounot
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Old Goat writes, “Yeah, might as well run out an poke at a hornets nest on a hot summer day! Hamas will not be doing anything to help the impoverished plight of their people.”
    Well, governments work in different ways with always the same goal; to consolidate power. If Hamas has decided to squeeze blood from their impoverished Palestinian turnip, at least they were democratically elected to do so. On their election day, where was the banner from George Junior proclaiming Hamas’ membership to the sacred democracy club? He sure praised Saudi Arabia (an old family friend) for next to nothing in their municipal elections.
    I think the answer to the middle east problem is to check out how much money the US gives to each country and to see how many of their sycophant nationals spend their time hobnobbin on K Street.
    I really do pray that this time when we sell or give the weaponry to Israel to kill Palestinians, our manufacturers wipe the “Made in USA” symbol off the bombs before Israel kills any civilians with them.
    On second thought, there is no answer. But I prefer that the US be not involved.
    It must be hard for Rahm Emmanuel to sit by and watch since he was a member of the Israeli force while he was still a US citizen. Kind of like one of those things, what do they call them “conflict of interest”?
    Even with Obama’s problems, I am all for Obama just telling George to go home now. I think even George would be relieved to have it over.
    What a mess.

  20. mepatrickyounot
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Okay, so maybe Emanuel was not in the Israeli army,

    http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/11/rahm_emanuel_and_israel.php

    I will not talk bad about Emanuel anymore.

  21. Old Goat
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    To bad there is so much $$$ to be made making and selling armaments. Wish the USA would concentrate on exporting more peace and less war. But we have to be realistic. Men like to kill living things, not excluding each other.

  22. Andy
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Here’s Amnesty International’s letter about this to Condi Rice that you can sign (sorry for the length– feel free to snip– but people need to read this):
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/

    Amnesty International USA is deeply concerned about the escalation of human rights abuses following the series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip that began on December 27th. Since the beginning of the offensive, some 390 Palestinians have been killed, including scores of unarmed civilians, including some 62 women and children. Some 1,900 Palestinians have also been injured.

    Amnesty International is also concerned about the rocket fire by armed Palestinian groups including Hamas. These attacks are against international law and have killed four Israelis and injured scores more.

    But Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the US government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Amnesty International, as indeed other human rights and humanitarian organizations, is concerned about attacks directed at or resulting in harm to unarmed civilians. We expect the US government to share this concern for all unarmed civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian, who are caught in this conflict, and we urge the US government to spare no effort to pressure all sides in the conflict to immediately cease indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks which cause civilians fatalities and casualties.

    Without diminishing the responsibility of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups for indiscriminate and deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians, the US government must not ignore Israel’s disproportionate response and the longstanding policies which have brought the Gaza Strip to the brink of humanitarian disaster. While Israel has the right and the duty to protect its citizens, it must do so in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law. International law takes security concerns into consideration and allows states to use reasonable means to confront legitimate threats. However, operations must be strictly necessary, proportionate and make every effort to discriminate between combatant and civilian. The least intrusive means must be selected to confront the threat.

    In its latest bombing campaign, Israel is completely failing to meet these requirements under international law. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The attacks also come at a time when the civilian population already faces a daily struggle for survival. According to reports authored by Amnesty International, UN aid agencies, OXFAM, CARE, and several other organizations, the humanitarian crisis is at an all-time high level and is now worse that it has ever been since the 1967 Israeli military occupation. Rising unemployment, crippling prices of food and basic supplies, and inadequate medical facilities have created a man-made disaster. According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, “The civilian population, the fabric of Gaza, the future of the peace process, stability in the region, and goodwill among people throughout the world: all are trapped between the irresponsibility displayed in the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas militants and the disproportionality of the continuing Israeli military operation.”

    At present there is an urgent need for access to humanitarian aid, food and essential supplies – as both aid agencies and residents of Gaza have long ago run out of provision reserves due to the Israeli blockade which has so restricted the flow of goods into Gaza for months. The quantities which the Israeli army has allowed into Gaza in recent days are nowhere near what is necessary to meet the basic needs of the population of 1.5 million.

    AIUSA is further concerned that weaponry and military equipment supplied to Israel by the US (or developed with US military assistance) have also been used in the recent Israeli strikes against densely populated civilian residential areas of Gaza, resulting in scores of unarmed civilian fatalities and hundreds of casualties, in violation of US law. The U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1976 requires governments that receive weapons from the United States use them only for legitimate self-defense.

    The U.S. government can play an important role in ending this crisis by strongly condemning unlawful attacks by both Hamas and Israel which indiscriminately and/or disproportionately kill and injure civilians.

    The U.S. must also take an active role in reversing the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza by exerting pressure on Israel to open the crossings into Gaza to allow adequate quantities of humanitarian aid into the strip – including food, water, medicine and fuel. Humanitarian and human rights workers as well as media must be allowed to enter to aid in the recovery and to serve as neutral, third party observers. Israel must also grant the wounded access to hospitals in Israel and to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

    The United States should also take steps to insist that the Egyptian authorities open Egyptian hospitals to those in need of medical care which is not available in Gaza and ask that Egypt guarantees that its border guards do not resort to excessive use of force against those fleeing the bombing. Hamas must also ensure that its security forces and militias do not, under any circumstances, hinder or prevent the passage of the wounded or others patients trying to leave Gaza.

    Finally, it is vital that the United States suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel immediately and conduct an investigation into whether U.S. weapons were used to commit human rights abuses.

    Thank you for your consideration of the above concerns and recommendations.

  23. Old Goat
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Maybe we need to give Israel Mr. Reagan’s SDI missile defense technology, (remember that, we spent billions on it). Then Hamas’ rockets would be rendered ineffective, and a lopsided counterstrike would no longer be needed.

  24. Meta
    Posted January 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Footage from Gaza. (Warning: graphic images of dead children)

    http://muslimtv.magnify.net/video/ISRAEL-CARNAGE-CIVILIANS-CHILDR

  25. Abby
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    p.s. the media bias on the Israeli-Palestine conflict IS that there are two sides to the issue, that it is complicated, that it is perpetual, irresolvable, viz Chomsky’s “manufactured consent” regarding Vietnam. Not so. There ain’t any two sides to state terrorism and military occupation, to veritable ethnic cleansing, to exiling people who have been farming land for centuries, bulldozing their homes, displacing their families, killing their children and neighbors, and paying foreigners from all over Europe to set up suburban shop in their ghosted place, much less to sell weapons to a government that does such things in violation of international law daily. The US is directly responsible for the violence in selling these weapons to Israel knowing the purposes to which they are used.

    You should read up on this issue. It’s heart breaking. I recommend “Image and Reality of the I-P Conflict” by Finkelstein, who just lost his tenure at, I believe, U of Minnesota for speaking the truth about this issue . He is Jewish (“Jews for Justice” against the occupation, and there are many). He uses the voices of the Israeli establishment itself to show the violence in which it is implicated.

  26. Meta
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Kucinich in Congress:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0Km2M3kvk

  27. Meta
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    BBC calls Gaza a big concentration camp:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7817019.stm

  28. mark
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    The disturbing thing, which no one has mentioned here yet, is that these recent Israeli attacks in Gaza seem to have more to do with the fact that the Bush administration is coming to an end than it does any recent Palestinian attacks. They know that they won’t have the same latitude in the future, and they’re taking advantage of that fact. One more thing that we can thank Bush for.

  29. Brackache
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Ron Paul gave a speech today regarding, I believe, a Congressional resolution recognizing Israel’s right to defend themselves. You tube of it.

  30. I Stand With Israel
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    After 60 years of rocket attacks and suicide bombers they have every right to defend themselves. There’s no other country in the world who would have tolerated it this long. I hope they continue until they finish the job. Destroy the arms cache and tunnels and eliminate both Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

  31. Posted January 9, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The only situation-rational solution to this millennial crisis is to make all “holy lands” like Chernobyl.

    Tell everyone to leave the region and move to their supporters’ countries. Then irradiate the area. Anyone can visit for a few hours, but no one can live there permanently. By the time the place stops glowing, both sides will have either killed each other or forgotten what the original arguments were.

  32. Brackache
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    ISWI: I’m not saying this to be snarky or anything, because I know a couple Albanian Americans who went over to Kosovo to fight the Serbs on their own dime as private citizens. What’s stopping you from going over there and fighting for Israel? As a private citizen, you have every right to, but as national policy, the US government should mind its own business… and if Israel wants their business to be US government business, they’re more than welcome to apply for Statehood. As for you, you’re a free citizen, do what you want.

  33. I Stand With Israel
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Brackache:

    I’m sorry if you thought I implied otherwise, but I was not advocating a larger role for the U.S. in this military operation. I was merely expressing support for the sovereign nation of Israel to defend its citizens from attack. The U.S. government got involved in this most recent altercation by not using its veto power in the sham U.N. vote to condemn Israel for its defensive action. Now there’s talk of inserting a “peacekeeping” force in Gaza and if the U.S. gets sucked into using American soldiers as fresh targets for the terrorists I’m certain I would be more outraged than you. We are not the world’s policemen and when we do intervene we almost always make things worse.

  34. mepatrickyounot
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Brackache wrote, “and if Israel wants their business to be US government business, they’re more than welcome to apply for Statehood.”
    Yes. All we need is another state with few natural resources and a large human popluation to consume everything they see. A veritable “oasis in the desert” according to some.

  35. mark
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I vote for Leighton’s solution…. slightly modified.

    We give the Holy Lands to Disney to run as a theme park, and they sell tickets. No one actually lives there.

    Solved.

  36. Brackache
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Here is a video exemplifying the results of “real world conditions” affecting our reps’ votes moreso than steadfast principles, and why it is important to keep our reps accountable even if we haven’t held leadership positions ourselves.

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