Bombs, Protests And Choices

A "shot across the bow." That's how one US official, without apparent irony, described the Biden administration's decision to "pause" some weapons shipments to Israel, including the transfer of 2,000-pound bombs. The IDF's use of the large ordnance in dense urban areas is a point of contention between the White House and the Netanyahu government. If you're unfamiliar with the backstory, suffice to say some observers were alarmed early on in the war at the Israeli military's freewheeling deplo

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16 thoughts on “Bombs, Protests And Choices

  1. “God-forsaken holy land” indeed.
    All religions are utter madness. They persist because the patriarchy needs them to stay in power. And because people are sheep.

  2. Thanks for this great summary of the state of affairs in Israel, Gaza and the ME.

    With regard to student protests, I happened to be in Madison last Friday. The student protestors were just sitting around, outside the 20-25 tents that were set up on the lawn across from the student union. They were very peaceful, had taped up a few signs and had written some notes in colored chalk on the sidewalk. They weren’t doing much; they did not block/accost anyone, nor were they upset when I crossed right through the area where they were hanging out. Most were just getting a suntan as it was a beautiful warm and sunny day.
    Not a problem, at all.

  3. Appreciate the views and perspective shared.
    Hopefully the protests catalyze, among younger generation, more serious inquiry into the actual history and state of affairs in the region.

  4. I just hope the protesters are also cognizant of and rallying around additional issues such as 1) the health and survival of the planet, 2) women’s freedom and health issues / choices, 3) the immediate threat to democracy via authoritarianism in several countries, 4) (in the US) the corrupt, co-opted, and politically driven out of control Supreme (scare quotes) Court…

  5. I still think it bears repeating that the vast majority of Palestinians support Hamas –

    Furthermore and even worse – “Another, but less surprising, result of the poll is that 80% of Palestinians reject both the “one-state” and “two-state” solutions, and instead demand all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea—in short, the entire State of Israel”.

    2 states solution, however impossible, still has 30% of Israeli Jewish people support (and 80+% of Israeli Arabs).

    It seems like a big difference and hard to “both sides”. Again, what would anyone else do, if they were Israel? While other people’s stupidity does not excuse your own, we know what the US did after the (I would argue) far less traumatic attack of 9/11… And I really doubt that 80% of Muslims (whatever ethnic or national subgroup you care to associate with AQ) would have been yearning for the destruction of America, even if they approved of 9/11.

    1. NB: None of that obligate the US or anyone else to support Israel militarily. We can, maybe should, cancel all military aid (though US military aid tends to be direct support to US defense manufacturing, not aid in the traditional sense of the word).

      But we should also recognise Israel is doing what anyone else would do, indeed, seems pretty damn restrained about it if total casualties are only 30K (a Hamas number we have no reasons to believe in the slightest but still a paltry 1.3% compared to the total 2.2M pop.of Gaza – we killed way more Germans or Japanese in WWII, percent wise)

    2. And I think it “bears repeating,” just so other readers are aware, that your comment history on this subject betrays an overt, pro-Israel bias as it relates both to the conduct of the war and also as it relates to civilian casualties in Gaza.

      Of course, everyone’s biased, but based solely on your public comments on this site, your bias can be fairly described as more pronounced than a majority of the readership. That’s an assessment I’m uniquely positioned to make as the guy who’s read every single comment ever posted on this site, including the ones which never see the public light of day (and yes, I gate comments).

      Also, if someone took a big piece of your land from you, how much of it would you want back? All of it, or just some of it? If it’s the latter, let me know. I’ll be happy to come take a very large piece of your property then give you some of what I took back in a “compromise.” That’s an entirely acceptable outcome from my perspective. Let me know if it works for you.

      I’m not saying I necessarily agree with Palestinian claims to the entirety of the territory, but I certainly understand why they’d make those claims. If you don’t, you’re either hopelessly biased (likely) or don’t have a solid grasp of the history of this conflict (also likely, but I don’t think that’s the real issue in your case).

      1. That’s a fair characterisation of my present-day position, yes.

        However, my position has evolved. I used, say, pre-2000/2005, to be pro-Palestinian. And a big reason for that was the fundamental injustice of 1948 where the European powers decided to (re)create Israel as apologies for the Holocaust. The dispossessed Arabs certainly got the short end of the stick there.

        But Israel is now in existence for more than 75 years. It’s an internationally recognized country. At some point, reality on the ground matter.

        It’s like saying Mexico would be justified in starting a war to recover Texas, California etc. I mean, if they could, I guess that’s all the justification they would really need (might, right etc.) but, really, would anyone else say “oh, well, fair enough”.

        And if they were waging a brutal, guerrilla/terrorist campaign on the USA, would anyone think the USA not entitled to strike back with however much force is required to make them desist?

        Furthermore, one thing that really sour me on the Palestinian cause is how they kept rejecting every compromises up to the 2000 Camp David summit. If you think no compromise makes sense since Israel did not exist before 1948, fair enough, though that’s kind of also implying you have to be comfortable with the eventual ethnic cleansing or genocide of Israeli Jews. But a further point of my changing sides, as it were, was how little Palestinian leaders cared about the well being of Palestinians. I can even get the rationale of “let’s have massive amount of our own civilian casualties to inflame the world” but it’s never going to be enough to get Israeli Jews to up sticks and move somewhere else. In the meanwhile, the EU, out of guilt for the way we fùçk over Palestinians donated several billions of Euros over the year. That money was either stolen by the leadership or repurposed to support their war effort against Israel while the Palestinians themselves got sweet fùçk all.

        I don’t know. Those 2 facts, plus the horrors of Oct 7th plus the fact that 80% of Palestinians wanting Israel gone made me realise that the only way forward is for Israel to break the will and the hopes of the Palestinians to ever get back a single inch of land. Once they’ll have accepted that, once they’re defeated, maybe we can have peace.

        After all, the Germans and the Japanese are now peaceful (a bit too much, if anything) and amongst the closest allies the US has…

        1. “… the only way forward is for Israel to break the will and the hopes of the Palestinians to ever get back a single inch of land.”

          At least you came out and said it.

          And what is that “point” at which “reality on the ground” is all that matters? Is that just an ad hoc determination? Is there something special about 75 years? Or 150 years?

          How about 3 years? Can we call it 3 years? That’s a long time, after all. It’s 20 in dog years! So, let’s call it 3 years. After 3 years, “reality on the ground” is what “matters.” That puts you folks in a pretty tough spot in 1943, doesn’t it?

          (You’re welcome. I’m sure we’ll have to do it again at some point. We got you. Don’t worry.)

          1. If the Germans had won WWII, I certainly would expect France to remain a subject nation after 1943. If Israel had been destroyed by the coalition of Arab states in 1948, we wouldn’t be arguing about Gaza in 2024. I may be dumb but what’s your point?

          2. My point is that you’re arguing a kind of infinite regress. If you want to say nothing really belongs to anybody if they can’t hold onto it in the face of overwhelming force and a willingness on the part of the international community to recognize claims based on force and coercion, that’s “fine,” but just be willing to apply the same principle universally. It sounds like you are willing to apply it universally. Which is great for the purposes of staying consistent in internet debates like this one, which you’re pretty adept at, by the way. But what I’m saying is that as a citizen of a country which isn’t the US, China or Russia (i.e., as a citizen of a country that isn’t impregnable), just be apprised that at some point, you (or your descendants) may have to face up to what that principle of yours means in the event you’re overrun and nobody comes to save your ass: You’ll be Palestinians and based on your logic, you won’t have anything legitimate to complain about after a sufficiently long period of time has elapsed.

  6. It’s not just college kids who seem confused or uninformed about the longer-term history and geopolitical waxings and wanings of the situation. You could add many US Senators and Representatives to that list, not to mention many talking heads on either side who traffic in simple “truths” and oversimplified “assessments,” and who either cling to or reject “both-sidesisms” depending how it suits their purposes.

    But as a compulsively non-religious person who despises any religious influence in poltiics, thank you for calling out Israel’s sense of entitlement when it comes to supporting their causes. Because from this admittedly lightly-informed and totally-secular perspective, Israel seems like the objectively worst ally we have on this planet, and not just in recent months. And of course, Saudi Arabia occupies a longstanding wildcard playoff spot for that same title. This non-relgious taxpayer would like to be done with them both.

    1. To be fair, now that the US is energy self sufficient, you really could/should.

      I know I would… especially when China is on the horizon and will need to be either checked or defeated in the not so distant future.

  7. It just occurred to me that perhaps the “God-forsaken “holy land” is not forsaken at all. Rather it is a giant puzzle placed in front of the people of the world, much as was the Gordian Knot in the ancient times. God just wants to know if we all can handle it. So far He’s probably very disappointed.

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