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Airport Security in Israel:

I recently blogged about some of the failures of the Transportation Security Administration, the federal bureaucracy charged with ensuring airport security in the United States. It was therefore interesting for me to observe Israeli airport security in action during my recent trip to Israel. Israeli airport security is widely considered the best in the world. There hasn't been a successful hijacking of an airliner originating in Israel since 1969, and you can be quite sure that it's not because the terrorists haven't been trying hard enough.

I noticed two obvious differences between the US and Israeli systems. First, the Israelis forego the stupid TSA ritual of making all passengers remove their shoes. Most of the time, this is just an annoying indignity. In this case, avoiding it was a godsend, since I had a twisted ankle (I later learned that it was fractured) that turned taking my shoes on and off into a mild form of torture. Perhaps taking off shoes really does provide some important security benefit that I'm unaware of. But the fact that the Israelis don't consider it necessary suggests to me that any such benefits of this practice are questionable, at best.

The second big noticeable difference between the two approaches is that the Israelis rely far more on profiling than the TSA does. Even though I doubt that the Israeli security officials singled me out for any special scrutiny, one of them nonetheless asked me 8-10 detailed questions about my background, my reasons for visiting Israel, where I had gone, and so on. The idea is, apparently, to look for inconsistencies and other red flags that might suggest the need for closer scrutiny. Every single passenger at Ben Gurion Airport undergoes similar screening.

What can we learn from the Israeli approach? Obviously, the TSA should be compelled to forego its idiotic shoe procedures. Whether we can adopt the profiling aspect of the Israeli system is much harder to say. Israel has the advantage of having only one major airport. Requiring such individualized screening at the hundreds of major airports in the US would be much more expensive and might significantly slow down air traffic. Moreover, some of the questions the Israeli security people ask would be illegal or politically unfeasible in the US. For example, the official who questioned me asked me several questions about my level of religious observance ("what religious holidays do you celebrate?", "do you celebrate them in a synagogue?", etc.). When I explained that I wasn't religious, the Israeli official said that he wasn't either. Although this didn't happen in my case, the Israelis also engage in extensive ethnic screening, imposing especially strict scrutiny on Arabs and Muslims, including even those who are Israeli citizens; they also scrutinize even non-Arab gentiles more carefully than Jews. Such practices might not be legal in the US, and would certainly come under severe political attack if implemented. In addition, they might alienate some of the minority groups whose support we most need in the War on Terror, sch as American Muslims.

For these reasons, I'm not sure that we can fully adopt the Israeli approach to airport security in the US. Nonetheless, we should at least consider moving in the direction of more individualized screening and (nonracial) profiling, and fewer mindless rituals (such as taking off your shoes) that waste time and money without appreciably increasing security.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has a more detailed description of the Israeli approach here.

Patrick McKenzie (mail):
I was about to say "If we start profiling suspicious behaviors, we'll be accused of racial profiling" but, come to think of it, we are accused of racial profiling regardless. Might as well go with whatever strategy is proven to work best regardless of what folks will think of it, as we're taking the lumps for "stopping every Muslim man in line" already.
11.27.2007 2:12am
Cory J (mail):
I tend to think there would be a significant overlap of those people who would find racial profiling outrageous and people who would complain about any kind of profiling whatsoever.

I seem to recall that when the shoe procedure started it was going to be used only on people targeted through profiling (nonracial, IIRC). Groups complained: It must be completely random.

My memory could well be faulty about the shoe procedure, but I still think profiling of any type would be subject to the same political pressures as racial profiling. A lot of people will see profiling, however it's done, as a proxy for racial or ethnic profiling.
11.27.2007 2:46am
Nick Good - South Africa (mail):
I don't see profiling as any worse than limiting the search for rapists to men.
11.27.2007 2:59am
Flash Gordon (mail):
I think the TSA looks for bad things and the Israelis look for bad people, figuring the bad things will turn up with the bad people.
11.27.2007 3:03am
Tek Jansen:
To finish Nick Good's sentence: because white Christians are physically incapable of terrorism, just as women are physically incapable of rape. Yeah.
11.27.2007 3:04am
JaredS:
Tek Jansen:
If the police find a dead woman in a park with signs of sexual trauma where a condom was used, it is entirely within the realm of physical possibility that the sexual assault and murder were committed by a woman. The police will nonetheless focus entirely on males in the absence of strong contrary evidence.

The analogy is extreme but valid (I hardly imagine Nick Good meant that all profiling is as effective as profiling by sex in sex crimes). You can argue all you want about the morality of profiling, whether it's worth it, and whether the organization of your choice is too incompetent to use it properly, but ultimately the cold-blooded application of statistical inference cannot help but be more effective on average than randomness.
11.27.2007 4:19am
Gideon:
My wife and I traveled to Israel on El Al while I was still an Assistant Federal Security Director with the TSA. We were profiled extensively as the only Christians on a Jewish tour group (I didn't realize that when we signed up, but we had a great time and enjoyed the company and our 17 days in Israel). On the way over, El Al security took everything from us, including our carry-on bags, returning them to us only as we boarded, and we were escorted on board before general boarding started. On the way back, it seemed we were given the executive treatment and the questioning and security took a total of about five minutes. I guess we proved that we were not a threat.

This process would not be possible in the U.S., as others have pointed out. But what is possible in the U.S. is a certain level of common sense - the shoes are questionable indeed and add to that, the prohibition against lighters, which has finally been reversed.

My hat is off to Flash for noting the primary difference in screening objectives - things over people. The "things" approach can always be defeated by a patient enemy. But if the enemy itself is addressed, then security will be much more effective for something like the aviation industry which cannot be put behind fortress-like walls.
11.27.2007 4:23am
Tek Jansen:
Jared: I think informed profiling (whether on the singles circuit or by cops) is usually a good way to make sense of our environment. I was making fun of the analogy because it is so extreme.
11.27.2007 4:27am
JoshL (mail):

I think the TSA looks for bad things and the Israelis look for bad people, figuring the bad things will turn up with the bad people.


It's really more suspicious people- I don't have the time to look it up at the moment, but there's a case from the 80s where they stopped a white woman from Europe whose answers didn't make sense. Turned out that her boyfriend was Palestinian and that he'd snuck a bomb into her luggage without telling her.
11.27.2007 7:09am
Gary Anderson (mail):
I think what you're missing Ilya is that Americans will not stand for the police state mentality like Israel.

We're not struggling to establish the borders of our nation-state, and we've got certain presumptions here that the Israelis do not. Our Constitution, our ethnic and religious diversity, our love of freedom differentiates America and Israel.

Instead of asking how America can emulate Israel, we should be asking how we can separate the relationship between the two, so that America is not paying the costs via terrorism of her support of Israel.

After all, America has been here a lot longer than Israel, who is still in her birth pangs really and it's unsure in the end how healthy the baby will turn out.

We should stick with our Constitutional measures here -- maintain our civil liberties and protections for all. It's gotten us this far, and again the whole of America will never consent to live in cages, and treat portions of our populations as the Israelis do.

It's like comparing apples and bullets drawing any conclusions between the two countries. Sorry, Israel is not our equal and her tactics can not be emulated here if we're to maintain what got America here this far -- her attitudes toward the civilians making up the whole.
11.27.2007 7:49am
Brooklynite (mail) (www):
ultimately the cold-blooded application of statistical inference cannot help but be more effective on average than randomness


Depends on the methodology. If your heuristic is tainted by bias, or can be gamed, it might produce results that are less effective than a random search.
11.27.2007 7:57am
jj (mail):
The point is whether a good statistical analysis can be gamed more than the current idiotic system. Moreover, profiling will have lower opportunity costs in terms of sheer numbers of people inconvenienced. To take the analogy to rape, profiling men makes sense if only one in a thousand (or even a hundred) rapists is a female.

It is precisely the foolish resistance to profiling that subjects us to this humiliating waste of time. These costs are the tax we all pay for praying at the altar of diversity.

I for one would like to see a prominent political figure bring this issue up and see whether the American public would indeed prefer Israeli style profiling to the current system. The Bush administration should be faulted for not having made the case for this much earlier. Immediately after 911, it would have been much easier to get such a system institutionalized and accepted.
11.27.2007 8:13am
x (mail):
The TSA's biggest PR problem is the very visibile 'close the charred remains of the door after the barn has burned down and the horse is dead' approach to security.
11.27.2007 8:16am
Eric Muller (www):
Ilya, is it not safe to assume that this supposed "non-racial" profiling you propose would, in practice, end up focusing more TSA attention on people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith? That as a consequence more people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith would end up questioned more probingly, and for longer, and that they would therefore end up being detained for longer periods of time, identified in the worried eyes of other passengers passing through security as possible security threats? And that they'd miss more flights?

And that all of this would dwarf what you call the "indignity" you yourself suffered when you had to remove your shoes?

I'm also puzzled by an equivocation in your third-to-last paragraph. You say that a system of stricter airport scrutiny for people (even U.S. citizens!) of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith at U.S. airports "would certainly come under severe political attack", but only "might not be legal." You're a careful writer -- so why the equivocation? Is there any plausible argument that a system of "especially strict scrutiny" for Arabs and Muslims, including especially U.S. citizens, would not violate the Constitution under current U.S. law? Are there cases, other than Korematsu and Hirabayashi, that would support that proposition?
11.27.2007 8:34am
Apollo (mail):
<i>Is there any plausible argument that a system of "especially strict scrutiny" for Arabs and Muslims, including especially U.S. citizens, would not violate the Constitution under current U.S. law?</i>

I'm no expert on the subject, so this is a serious question. Are you telling me that the University of Michigan Law School's desire for classroom diversity is a compelling state interest when it comes to racial discrimination, but better airport security wouldn't be?
11.27.2007 8:47am
tarheel:

The second big noticeable difference between the two approaches is that the Israelis rely far more on profiling than the TSA does. Even though I doubt that the Israeli security officials singled me out for any special scrutiny, one of them nonetheless asked me 8-10 detailed questions about my background, my reasons for visiting Israel, where I had gone, and so on.

So let me get this straight. The Israelis profile, though they were not profiling you when they asked you 8-10 questions?

This just highlights the problem with citing Israel's approach as support for profiling. As I understand it, they ask almost everyone flying a series of questions, then do more extensive searches when that questioning raises red flags. I doubt anyone would have a serious civil rights issue with this approach, though anyone who has flown out of Las Vegas on a Sunday morning might question how it could ever work in America. It works in Israel, as you say, because they have one or two major airports and a small fraction of the number of fliers we have.

So the "Israeli approach" in America would get dumbed down to searching all the dark-skinned people, which might work well for the anglos like Ann Coulter who support profiling, but not so much for someone like me. Not to mention that terrorists would game this system in a second. In any case, it would not make us any safer, just less inconvenienced (if you are white).

In the end, as far as I can tell, people who support profiling do so because they are unlikely to be profiled and they are fed up with the "indignities" of flying. What better way to channel that anger than at the stupid TSA bureaucracy?

So does anyone here support asking almost every flier 8-10 detailed questions? If not, stop citing Israel as the way we should be doing things.
11.27.2007 8:49am
ronnie dobbs (mail):

I'm no expert on the subject, so this is a serious question. Are you telling me that the University of Michigan Law School's desire for classroom diversity is a compelling state interest when it comes to racial discrimination, but better airport security wouldn't be?


Good question, but don't hold your breath waiting for a serious answer. (Hint: They don't have one.)
11.27.2007 9:10am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"Israel has the advantage of having only one major airport. Requiring such individualized screening at the hundreds of major airports in the US would be much more expensive and might significantly slow down air traffic."

Huh? The time per passenger burden of doing a 100% interview screening is going to be the same whether you do it at one airport or a hundred.
11.27.2007 9:13am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"I think the TSA looks for bad things and the Israelis look for bad people, figuring the bad things will turn up with the bad people."

And that's not just an oversight or lack of understanding on our part. It's an active political choice.

Our fear of offending our enemies and their sympathisers prevents us from adopting the Israeli approach.
11.27.2007 9:16am
tarheel:
Ralph Phelan:

More expensive because you would have to staff hundreds of airports with extra people to interview passengers. More time consuming because we have many, many more fliers than Israel. Of course the per passenger time is the same, but that means nothing when the security line has 150 people in it rather than 15.
11.27.2007 9:17am
tarheel:
Let me revise slightly. Dozens of airports, not hundreds.
11.27.2007 9:19am
Eric Muller (www):
No, Apollo, I'm not telling you that, unless you see no difference in law between a program that's intended to single out and burden a suspected, persecuted, and relatively powerless group, on the one hand, and a system that has the effect of burdening a non-suspected, non-persecuted, and relatively powerful group, on the other. If those two sorts of programs strike you as legally comparable, then I suppose it might make a kind of sense simply to line up and compare the state interests supporting them.
11.27.2007 9:19am
Lugo:
We're not struggling to establish the borders of our nation-state,

Yes, we have completely abandoned the struggle to control our borders...

Ilya, is it not safe to assume that this supposed "non-racial" profiling you propose would, in practice, end up focusing more TSA attention on people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith? That as a consequence more people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith would end up questioned more probingly, and for longer, and that they would therefore end up being detained for longer periods of time, identified in the worried eyes of other passengers passing through security as possible security threats? And that they'd miss more flights?

If so, so be it!
11.27.2007 9:22am
Wallace:
It's funny how Ilya and Jacoby both decry the "indignity" of being forced to remove one's shoes, but extol a government-employed Dutch uncle grilling you about how often you attend religous services. Whatever it's other mertis are, the TSA is far less intrusive than Israel's equivalent.

Also much is made about Israel's hijack-free record since 1969. America only federalized it's airport security in 2001, and has been hijack-free the entire time.
11.27.2007 9:27am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Ilya, is it not safe to assume that this supposed "non-racial" profiling you propose would, in practice, end up focusing more TSA attention on people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith?

Well duh!

Gedankenexperiment:
Imagine a perfect system of profiling - one that actually sniffed out people who were planning to hijack a plane with a no false positives and no false negatives.

Now imagine that system had been in place on the morning of September 11, 2001.

Would it not have singled out a group of people most of whom were of Arab ancestry and all of whom were of Muslim faith?

Would it thave been wrong to do so?


The reason our airport security is a joke is that one of the politically imposed design parameters is a refusal to acknowledge some obvious truths about the threats it's meant to guard against.

I'd like to see that change.

If Muslims then become distressed by the fact that they seem to be supplying more than their share of the "bad people" they should look inward and do something about that reality rather than blaming the messenger.
11.27.2007 9:30am
Aultimer:

Ralph Phelan:

Our fear of offending our enemies and their sympathisers prevents us from adopting the Israeli approach.

Sorry, but that seems like the standard "conservative" sissy-baiting rhetoric. The real answer has more to do with the constitution and related principles like the Blackstone ratio.
11.27.2007 9:35am
Dan Weber (www):
Unpopular though it may be to admit, TSA works. No one has brought down a plane while they've been running things.

You can say that they are too expensive, that they focus on stupid things, that they make us wait too long in lines, that they infringe on our civil liberties, that it's just security theater. I could accept arguments for all of those.

However, I don't see how going to an El Al model would improve any of those complaints. It would just seem to make them worse. (Well, maybe with the exception of "focus on stupid things", like shoe bombers. But I'm sure El Al focuses on some things here and there that don't make any difference.)
11.27.2007 9:37am
Eric Muller (www):
Ralph Phelan,

Gedankenexperiment:

If Muslims then become distressed by the fact that they seem to be supplying more than their share of the "bad people" they should look inward and do something about that reality rather than blaming the messenger.
Take out the word "Muslims" and insert the name of any other racial or religious group, anywhere, at any point in world history.

Then identify the historical episodes on your list that wouldn't make a sensible person shudder, and that didn't represent, or lead to, great mischief and human suffering.
11.27.2007 9:38am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"Of course the per passenger time is the same, but that means nothing when the security line has 150 people in it rather than 15."

To a gross first approximation, Israel's annual cost is (salary of competent screener)x(a few minutes)x(passengers per year) which in one way or another finds its way into higher ticket prices.

If we did the same we'd be spending (salary of competent screener)x(a few minutes)x(many more passengers passengers per year) and spreading the cost over more passengers.

This would cost a lot more than our current (Minimum wage TSA employee with no background checks)x(a few seconds)x(many more passengers passengers per year).

Having a single airport may reduce some of Israel's administrative overhead, but the basic line-personnel cost of their system is still pretty high.

So one reason they have it and we don't is that their threat level is higher. As has been pointed out above, even our current pathetic system has not been breached in the last 5 years.

I don't think we need to spend as much as the Israelis do.

I do think we could either get better security from out current budget, or keep our current level for a lot cheaper, if we stopped trying so hard to disguise the fact that threat level is strongly correlated with certain demographic and behavioral markers.
11.27.2007 9:40am
wm13:
Obviously, if Prof. Somin were to circulate a petition among his fellow law professors advocating the measures he suggests here, most of them would refuse to sign, and many would call him a racist. That being the case, I don't see where people get off calling the TSA stupid or idiotic, unless they mean "as stupid and idiotic as the average law professor."

Just to be clear, I don't mean that law professors are stupid; I mean that it doesn't make sense to criticize the intelligence of the TSA when they are following the will of the chattering classes.
11.27.2007 9:44am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Take out the word "Muslims" and insert the name of any other racial or religious group, anywhere, at any point in world history.

Then identify the historical episodes on your list that wouldn't make a sensible person shudder, and that didn't represent, or lead to, great mischief and human suffering


Italian Americans when Bobby Kennedy was cracking down on the Mafia.

White Christian Southerners when the FBI was going after the Ku Klux Klan.

Colombian Americans when the DEA is investigating cocaine trafficing.

I'm not talking about going after people for being members of a particular group. I'm talking about going after people who are real wrongdoers, and if they turn out to be disproportionately members of a particular group, living with that unfortunate fact.

How much organized crime prosecution would ever happen if we never investigated a criminal gang whose ethnic makeup didn't "look like America" because it might hurt the feelings of the group the gang members come from?
11.27.2007 9:51am
tarheel:
Ralph Phelan:

I can't tell if you support the Israeli approach of interviewing everyone (an approach I could live with, though I doubt it would work here) or racial profiling?

What would be the point of the first if the second is so effective? And why engage in the second if we are already doing the first?
11.27.2007 9:51am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Lugo:

America's borders are clearly established;
Israel's are not, still in flux.

That's the root of the problem, right there.

Whether or not we're willing at this time to enforce those borders, or whether we're willing to turn the other way so that employers are provided with a cheap source of labor is another entire discussion.

Still, I like America's defined-borders situation compared to Israel's more precarious one. When your country is granted as a gift, and you're still struggling this many years in to figure out what land is yours and what land is not, that's not a good place to be...


That as a consequence more people of Arab ancestry and Muslim faith would end up questioned more probingly, and for longer, and that they would therefore end up being detained for longer periods of time, identified in the worried eyes of other passengers passing through security as possible security threats? And that they'd miss more flights?

If so, so be it!


Not in America, my friend.
There's just not enough of us with long-term loyalties to Israel's survival to give up our ways to adopt theirs. Besides, overall which way has proven more successful? Police state tactics, or the citizen protections in the US Bill of Rights?

Thanks, we'll stick with what we've already honestly built up here.
11.27.2007 9:52am
Oren:

Unpopular though it may be to admit, TSA works. No one has brought down a plane while they've been running things.


They are also quite effective at preventing bear attacks on planes - - after all, no bears have attacked on a plane while they've been running things. Correlation != Causation

There hasn't been a single plot since 9/11 worth half a damn. The British liquid explosive was a nonsense and Reid would have been lucky to blow off his leg. All the objective evidence suggests that there have been no serious incidents recently for lack of attempts.

In all fairness, there is the unquantifiable effect of deterrence - we cannot possibly know how many terrorists plots were abandoned (or never conceived) because of heightened security. Given the abysmal track record of the TSA, however, it seems unlikely to be much of a deterrent.
11.27.2007 9:56am
Temp Guest (mail):
Another legal issue with which the US has to deal is our inability to select civil service (or private security) personnel with the intelligence to properly apply Israeli security techniques. In the aftermath of Griggs v. Duke Power and its congressional enshrinement in the 1991 amendments to the Civil rights Act of 1964, it is almost impossible to select intelligent persons for jobs like this. I suspect that is also why the current system is so annoying: Even a reasonable system will function badly when operated by persons of subpar intellectual endowments and achievements.
11.27.2007 9:59am
Smiley (mail):
Love the standard "blame the Muslim" line. "If Muslims dont want to be discriminated against, just stop the bombers from within you." I find this morally equivalent to holding every single U.S. citizen responsible for Mai Lai.

It also fascinates me how conservative commentators always get their panties in a twist about the TSA's alleged refusal to racially profile. I fly frequently for work, am a Muslim, and get "randomly" selected just about every time.

Do I understand why? Yes.
Does it thrill me to be singled out? Yes.
Does it piss me off when Fox News/LGF et al are always decrying the alleged lack of "common sense" aka racial profiling? Yes.
11.27.2007 10:00am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"I can't tell if you support the Israeli approach of interviewing everyone (an approach I could live with, though I doubt it would work here) or racial profiling?"

What I'm mostly doing is arguing with the implicit asusmption that disparate aoutcomes are always the result of discrimination.

Given who it is that wants to blow up American airplanes and why, a well designed screening system will pretty much by definition pay more attention to Arabs, Muslims, males 20-40 years old, and the various cross terms.

Attempts not to be seen to be paying more attention to the above for fear of being accused of discrimination are guaranteed to make the system less efficient.

That can take a mild form: refusing to use racial/religious/ethnic/demographic profiling for legal and/or moral reasons even if it's statistically effective.

It can also take a much worse form: refusing to use effective individualized "bad people, not bad things" procedures such as interviews because the demographics of the "bad people" identified would be politically distressing.
11.27.2007 10:12am
Ari Tai (mail) (www):
Does this strike you as a repeat of the gun control argument? One side believes "no guns" means less crime (which doesn't require much intellect or judgment to accomplish). The other side says "Judge/Jury, please use your best judgment, not a process, and decide if it's in society's best interest to throw away the key." The U.S. govenrment (as created and managed by Congress, the only entity that isn't the equivalent of transient management (like the term-limited executive) and the way we legislate/regulate thru litigation and settlement work hard to remove judgment from day-to-day government operations.

The congressional system appears to be all about compromise leading to consensus in service of some constituency (with a need) that's managed by some process (with minimal accountability back on the original congressional owners).

Is this the difference between our system and other's parliaments? The accountability of a process in a parliamentary system appears to be much more direct than it is in our system of checks-and-balances. One rewards intellect-and-judgment and the other does not.
11.27.2007 10:16am
Spartacus (www):
Americans will not stand for the police state mentality like Israel.

No, we'd rather live in an enforced idiot state, where oldladies are strip searched and 2 year olds are forced to take their shoes off at the airport.
11.27.2007 10:17am
Oren:
Spartacus, no old ladies are strip searched. They get the back-of-the-hand-job that we all get.

Personally, I'm in favor of making everyone take of their shoes because the more spread out the pain the more likely the reform.
11.27.2007 10:22am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Ilya,
If it's tough for you taking off your shoes with a fracture foot, maybe the answer isn't more racial profiling here at home, but less trips to Israel?

I wonder how much those advocating profiling would like it if Israeli stamped passports were included on the list of those to be more severely questioned or scrutinized regarding their loyalties to America. Afterall, it seems that region is the cause of so much of the terrorism problems. WHy not put Jewish American sounding names on the list wonder about their loyalties to America too?

(Funny how the Nazi-style distinctions between people and corresponding police state tactics are so obviously beneficial when it's your country they're protecting via collective action. I would think most Jews would understand this, teh dangers of lumping people into "groups" based on ethnic characterizations.)
11.27.2007 10:29am
Gary Anderson (mail):
There hasn't been a single plot since 9/11 worth half a damn. The British liquid explosive was a nonsense and Reid would have been lucky to blow off his leg. All the objective evidence suggests that there have been no serious incidents recently for lack of attempts.


Yeah, that's how terrorism generally works. It's not so much an organized, well financed and planned strategy as it is taking your one-time, best you got shot and then hoping your enemy overreacts and inflicts internal damage much greater than the terrorists ever could have accomplished with their limited means.

Terrorism wasn't just invented by the Muslims, afterall. It's a tactic, not an ethnic property.
11.27.2007 10:33am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Americans will not stand for the police state mentality like Israel.

No, we'd rather live in an enforced idiot state, where oldladies are strip searched and 2 year olds are forced to take their shoes off at the airport.


Sure beats dumping the Constitution and making ethnic/religious distinctions between your citizens, as Israel does.

Sorry, I'm not willing to declare Israel an overall success story that we have any reason to emulate here. Heck, she can't even support herself defensively, relying on American financial aid, technology, and allies to support her internal policies, some of which are rather questionable (to put it lightly) by American standards of liberty.

Geopolitically and demographically, I'd rather be in America's position than Israel's right now. And weaning her off our tit to become independent, with all the necessary compromises and internal policy changes that becoming a true democracy entails, should be the top job for America.

Then, maybe Israel would find security emulating American ways once she's dealt with the circumstances surrounding her "founding" and the terrorism threat is lessened.
11.27.2007 10:40am
Dan Weber (www):
They are also quite effective at preventing bear attacks on planes - - after all, no bears have attacked on a plane while they've been running things. Correlation != Causation
I agree with your point. This would fall under the "you can say that they are too expensive" complaint I offered.

And if the threat is so minimal (which it very well may be), then switching to an El Al model is even less called for.
11.27.2007 10:42am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Ari Tai said:

the way we legislate/regulate thru litigation and settlement work hard to remove judgment from day-to-day government operations.

When the next public school administration outrage-du-jour pops up (preschoooler arrested for sexual harrassment, student expelled for medically necessary prescription medication in locker, student sent to counseling for drawing G.I. Joe in notebook, etc....) you'll see this same principle in action.

It's hard to blame them, when mindlessly following the rules reduces their liability and using judgement increases it.
11.27.2007 10:43am
Ralph Hitchens (mail):
Nice to see not much has changed. I last visited Israel in 1990 as part of a US Government (Dept. of Defense) delegation meeting with the Israeli Defense Forces to discuss various military issues. I stayed after the rest of the team left, toured the country for a few days, and showed up at Ben Gurion expecting a quick pass-thru with my red official passport. Wrong! Lots of interrogation in the manner you described, conducted initially by some very young security people. The problem was that I had only the haziest recollection of what military facilities we had visited (and the IDF doesn't seem to want to advertise the names of said facilities) and because the conference dealt with intelligence issues I felt obligated to be vague. Eventually one of the second-level security types let me go, but it took the better part of an hour. And I had a red passport!!
11.27.2007 10:47am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"Sorry, I'm not willing to declare Israel an overall success story that we have any reason to emulate here."

Me neither. But I still think they know something about airport security.

By analogy, I'm in no hurry the follow the Dutch example on euthanasia, but I think they might know something about how to keep New Orleans from flooding again.
11.27.2007 10:49am
Yankev (mail):

I wonder how much those advocating profiling would like it if Israeli stamped passports were included on the list of those to be more severely questioned or scrutinized regarding their loyalties to America. Afterall, it seems that region is the cause of so much of the terrorism problems. WHy not put Jewish American sounding names on the list wonder about their loyalties to America too?

Yeah, think of all the Zionists who have perpetrated terror attacks on the US.
11.27.2007 10:59am
MDJD2B (mail):

We're not struggling to establish the borders of our nation-state...


A non-sequitur-- these are airport checks, not border checks.


...and we've got certain presumptions here that the Israelis do not. Our Constitution, our ethnic and religious diversity, our love of freedom differentiates America and Israel.


Israel does not have a written constitution, but it has tremendous ethnic diversity. The Jewish population comes from 100 different countries, and is by no means homogeneous. Between 15 and 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs, whou are Moslem, Christian, and Druze. Arabic is an official language in Israel, and road signs are multilingual.

As for Israeli love of freedom, the country is and remains a democracy, with a broader politcal spectrum than we have, and a toleration of dissent that is at least as great.


When your country is granted as a gift


Tell that to the 1% of Israelis who were killed by invading Arab forces after Israel proclaimed independence, and to their families.



Sorry, I'm not willing to declare Israel an overall success story


Sorry, Gary, but I' doubt that any Israeli gives a flying f**k whether you consider their country an overall success. By most economic and political measures they are more successful than most nations. I doubt Israel needs any aid at this point, but consider that to the extent that Israel depends on the US, the US has control over Israel.


And weaning her off our tit to become independent, with all the necessary compromises and internal policy changes that becoming a true democracy entails, should be the top job for America.


The only interesting thing about this statement is that it shows your obsession with Israel. Ending our dependence on oil, coping with global warming, rationalizing the health care system, and dealing with the challenge of rising and potentially unfriendly regimes in Russia and China (inter alia) would seem to most of us to be of greated priority to the United States than anything that has to do with Israel.
11.27.2007 11:16am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Israel knows who is trying to destroy it and wipe it off the face of the earth (Muslims). America is too dumb and politically incorrect to realize this, and every time someone tries to argue that Muslims are our enemy, someone will say "Timothy McVeigh" to "prove" otherwise.

So Israel will remain safe, while we will remain in danger. But when our airplanes go flying into our buildings, at least we can sit back and know we're tolerant of Muslims. And we can say that we are, over and over again with sincere desparation, to try to convince them that they should like us and not kill any more of us.
11.27.2007 11:18am
Oren:
Bruce, we are in no danger and planes hitting building was a one-off affair. I know that the factual absence of actual terrorist attacks will never be evidence enough of our safety, I suppose the only left to do is calmly sooth whatever irrational anger drove you into madness to begin with .

It's OK.
We're not in any danger.
Most of the Muslim world likes us and would like to emulate us.
It's OK.
We're not in any danger.
11.27.2007 11:29am
Gideon Kanner (mail):
It's obvious that Gary Anderson's posts are heavily colored by his antipathy (to put it politely) toward Israel. But the fact is that Arab/Muslim societies all over the world -- from Algeria, across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to the Philipines -- have been violent and have employed lethal terrorist tactics against their non-Muslim neighbors (and sometimes against their Muslim fellows) for reasons that have nothing whatevber to do with Israel. E.g., when Libya was supporting, arming and training Irish terrorists attacking the Brits, what did that have to do with Israel? Or the slaughter of black Christians and animists in the Sudan? Or of black Muslims in Darfur? Or the Indonesian Muslims attacking the overseas Chinese, or blowing up Australians in Bali? Or, the Phillipine Muslim terrorists kidnapping Christian tourists? Or Pakistani terrorists blowing up Indians? Etc., etc. Is all that Israel's fault, Gary?.
11.27.2007 11:32am
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
I flew El Al once from NY to London twenty years ago, and I'm pretty sure I raised a number of red flags. A 19-year-old kid, fresh out of UC/Berkeley, traveling alone with an enormous suitcase on a one-way ticket? (I was on my way to a year of music study in England.) I don't suppose I was actually questioned for more than 20 minutes or so, but it felt very long and detailed at the time. I remember being asked what "shalom" meant, and which were my favorite Israeli violinists.

My mom (who'd made my travel arrangements) was gratified to see all this — El Al's security system was why she'd chosen the airline in the first place, and based on what they knew of me, the (extra?) scrutiny was obviously prudent.

Could that plausibly be multiplied by the number of people flying in the US on a given day? I doubt it. And tarheel —

anyone who has flown out of Las Vegas on a Sunday morning might question how it could ever work in America

is right. Just did that (OK, it was actually 11:59 on a Saturday night, but same diff), & it was pretty nuts.
11.27.2007 11:37am
David M (mail) (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/27/2007 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...
11.27.2007 11:38am
Hey Skipper (www):
The biggest changes since 9/11 have been intrusion resistant cockpit doors (IRCDs), and flight crew training on how to deal with a hijacking.

Previously, pilots were trained to yield to hijacker demands in the interest of passenger safety.

Not anymore. Now pilots faced with a hijacker will land at the nearest suitable piece of pavement, where the airplane will be immobilized, and the hijackers will be met with more or less overwhelming force, depending upon how many people they have killed.

Because of IRCDs and the new training, hijackers will never again gain control of an airplane.

The government should make this public, and just as publicly state that it will be up to the male passengers to protect the women and children on board.

Then the TSA can focus its efforts on screening for serious things: guns, and sufficient explosives to bring down an airplane.
11.27.2007 11:38am
happylee:
Heather MacDonald has written a host of great articles on the topic of profiling over at City Journal. There is nothing wrong with profiling. Laws that bar profiling should be repealed. Public opinion regarding profiling needs to be reformed.

(Note that governments should neither run airports nor the air space planes fly through -- but that's not the topic of this blog thread...)
11.27.2007 12:01pm
BladeDoc (mail):
I still think they should just hand everyone on the plane a taser each, not allow alcohol at all and screen ONLY for large amounts of explosive material -- a few guns lose against a planeful of tasers.
11.27.2007 12:05pm
Flash Gordon (mail):
In 1986, Anne Marie Murphy, a young Irish woman, was planning to take an El Al flight from London to Tel Aviv to meet the parents of her fiance, a Palestinian. Murphy, who was pregnant, had no idea that the man she was planning to marry had hidden plastic explosives and a detonator in one of her suitcases. Israeli profilers interviewing Murphy found out about her boyfriend, got suspicious, and then discovered the bomb before the jumbo jet took off.

Maybe TSA would have found the explosives, maybe not. But they clearly would not have prevented this as easily as El Al did with its very probing and clever questioning of this unfortunate and gullible young woman.

Over reliance on technology such as x-ray equipment will inevitably lead to some disasters because there is no machine that will not fail at some point. It cannot be a substitute for human intelligence and wisdom, which TSA sadly eschews.
11.27.2007 12:06pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):

No, Apollo, I'm not telling you that, unless you see no difference in law between a program that's intended to single out and burden a suspected, persecuted, and relatively powerless group, on the one hand, and a system that has the effect of burdening a non-suspected, non-persecuted, and relatively powerful group, on the other. If those two sorts of programs strike you as legally comparable, then I suppose it might make a kind of sense simply to line up and compare the state interests supporting them.


So race-based discrimination in law school admissions is okay because it merely burdens a "relatively powerful" group, while race-based discrimination in airline security is not okay because it burdens a "relatively powerless" group. Funny, but I thought that the reason why race-based discrimination was morally wrong and, generally speaking, legally impermissible is because it fails to treat individuals as individuals by instead treating them as mere representatives of racial/ethnic groups (and ascribing stereotypical characteristics to them on that basis). In short, the harm is done to the individual, be it the Muslim airline passenger or the white law school applicant. In the former case, profiling suggests that Muslims are more likely to be terrorists than non-Muslims (demonstrably true), and in the latter, that white law school applicants are likely to be of less value in contributing to a "vibrant" law school class (almost impossible to verify, but that's the argument).

As far as I can tell, the evil is of the same type. What the commenter above suggested was that if we're going to engage in this kind of evil at all, shouldn't race-based profiling in airline security (a matter of life and death) take precedence over--or at least be seen as equally important as--race-based profiling in law school admissions?

Again, I don't think the pro-affirmative action/anti-airport profiling types (e.g., Prof. Muller) have a very good answer for these kinds of questions.
11.27.2007 12:22pm
r78:
The security screening system in America is a joke and I am amazed that rational people tolerate it.

For years after 9/11 - while TSA was forcing us to take off our shoes and making mothers drink their own breast milk - they were not screening cargo _at all_. They are instituting scans on cargo now but it is not complete.

All anyone had to do to blow up a plane was to send a bomb through cargo triggered by an altimeter.

The fact that we tolerate the intrusive "security" measures makes me fear what a nation of passive sheep we have become.
11.27.2007 12:24pm
Dan Weber (www):
Maybe TSA would have found the explosives, maybe not. But they clearly would not have prevented this as easily as El Al did with its very probing and clever questioning of this unfortunate and gullible young woman.
This may sound heartless, but, we have to accept losing a plane every few years.

If you think this is unimaginably cold of me, consider that we just shrug off some 40,000 driving deaths a year.
11.27.2007 12:27pm
r78:
The government should make this public, and just as publicly state that it will be up to the male passengers to protect the women and children on board.

You know, since there aren't any women in the military or the police and none of them have martial arts training or anything. They can't because of their petticoats getting in the way . . .
11.27.2007 12:28pm
Al Maviva (mail):
Is there any plausible argument that a system of "especially strict scrutiny" for Arabs and Muslims, including especially U.S. citizens, would not violate the Constitution under current U.S. law?

US v. Montero-Camargo
US v. Brignoni-Ponce

US v. Martinez Fuerte also has a pretty good discussion of the same issue, making the point that if heightened scrutiny is based on race or ethnicity, it has to make logical sense. In that case, the court ridiculed ethnic profiling of latinos in a county that was historically 70% Hispanic lawful immigrants. It's a fair argument and as much as the 9th Circuit could be relied on to state the law accurately, would probably tend to cut against any profiling of Arabs or Muslims as a general matter, but possibly support it when the threat of hijacking or liquid bombs or shoe bombs is heightened, e.g. where there is intel to support such a judgment.

The devil would probably reside in the "narrow tailoring" details.
11.27.2007 12:39pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The Zarkov plan for increased US airport security.

First eliminate the TSA entirely, and put each airline in charge of its airport security. Legislate strict liability for any security breach. Hold the CEO and other airline managers strictly liable for negligence. Thus if a terrorist get through and causes trouble, the CEO goes to jail. No excuses whatsoever. Institute a monitoring program. An independent agency (funded by a tax on plane tickets) would conduct red team tests on an ongoing basis. The results would be published on the Internet and at airports. Every ticket buyer would know how well every airline scores. Any airline that falls below a threshold would have its landing rights suspended and would be heavily fined. The monitoring agency would get a cash reward every time it penetrated security. Finally the monitoring agency itself would be audited by another independent agency also funded by a ticket tax. This second agency would reap incentive rewards for every error it caught in its audits.
11.27.2007 12:52pm
ProctorOfAdmiralty:
Profiling done right is not necessarily racial profiling. The problem is that often times the training received is inappropriate. A Prof. Mark West (formerly of Rutgers, my alumn) has written on this extensively.
L.
11.27.2007 12:53pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
We're not struggling to establish the borders of our nation-state...

A non-sequitur-- these are airport checks, not border checks.


Oh, it's related.
I'm suggesting that the reason the terrorist are targeting Israel might just have something to do with the fact that her borders are still in dispute.

Israel does not have a written constitution, but it has tremendous ethnic diversity.

Ah, but it's not like America. In Israel, to put it in Kissengerian terms, some ethnicities/peoples seem rank higher than others in terms of where you can go/drive, what you can do.

Israel might self define as an "independent democracy", but in reality, they're not so independent and not so democratic at all, compared to America.

I' doubt that any Israeli gives a flying f**k whether you consider their country an overall success. By most economic and political measures they are more successful than most nations

Let's just say, for such an independent country, they sure have relied on a lot of outside special help and protections. Without which...
11.27.2007 1:09pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
"Sorry, I'm not willing to declare Israel an overall success story that we have any reason to emulate here."

Me neither. But I still think they know something about airport security.


Sure it works for them. The question to focus on: would those tactics be effective in America, and would American citizens really believe the threats worth the price?

America, luckily, is not in the same boat as Israel. We shouldn't start acting like we are.
11.27.2007 1:13pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Yeah, think of all the Zionists who have perpetrated terror attacks on the US.

How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel? Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds.

And tell me their are no Israeli extremists? No, if we're going to do racial profiling, start including all MidEastern travellers, including those Jewish families who visit Israel. Suddenly, you'll have a concern for human rights and collective impact.
11.27.2007 1:17pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Ending our dependence on oil, coping with global warming, rationalizing the health care system, and dealing with the challenge of rising and potentially unfriendly regimes in Russia and China (inter alia) would seem to most of us to be of greated priority to the United States than anything that has to do with Israel

Not if you're talking terrorism.
The Israel/Palestinian problem is at the root of that one.
11.27.2007 1:20pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Let's just say, for such an independent country, they sure have relied on a lot of outside special help and protections. Without which..."

Who helped Israel in the 1948 war? In the June 1967 war Israel used French equipment. Jordan attacked Israel using American tanks. Fortunately for Israel those American tanks were junk. Meanwhile at that time Soviet aid to Arab countries, especially Egypt, was massive. In 1973 Egypt attacked Israel with more tanks (supplied by the USSR) than the Germans used in Operation Barbarossa.

Egypt has received a total of $50 billion in aid from the US since 1975. This year the Senate passed $2.3 billion in aid to Israel and $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt. Why do you resent US aid to Israel, but not to Egypt?
11.27.2007 1:28pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Oren: I agree with your sentiments, terrorism is a threat about as serious and likely as shark attacks, and much less serious than hurricanes and tornadoes. I'm not willing to give up even the slightest intrusion into my liberties in order to protect against terrorism.

That being said, it is Muslims who hate us and want us dead. Not "for our freedoms" (which I'm not willing to give up to protect myself or your children), but for our interference in the middle east, support of Israel, and general non-islamic nature. Ultimately religion is the enemy, but right now in the year 2007, Islam happens to be the world's most dangerous &hostile religion.

We should be spending our money to convert people to atheism and end religion. We should also spend billions dropping porn on the middle east (sexually repressed men living in 120 degree heat with sand in their ass cracks and no air conditioning are a threat to the safety of the world). Instead, we act like religion is the answer to everything, "American Muslims" are our friends and should be supported/nurtered/protected/encouraged, and the situation in the middle east is a complex web of international politics, economics, and history.

End religion and you'll have peace in the middle east. Unfortunately, Hitler forever ruined the concept of forcefully putting people in concentration camps based on their religion. Anyone who even proposes such a solution is called a Nazi, and the idea is instantly tossed out. Just another reason to hate the Nazis. They shouldn't have committed genocide, just Korematsu-style internment. Lock up all the Muslims and re-program them until they renounce their faith or commit suicide. Then do it to Christians, Jews, etc. Muslims have to go first, though.

And then, whoever is left will live in a world of peace.
11.27.2007 1:38pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Note that racial/religious profiling would not have detected a Tim McVeigh or a Baader-Meinhof gang member.

A friend's mother-in-law described her El Al screening experience to me thirty years ago, in the wake of the Munich Olympics massacre. Few would want to be questioned closely on their reasons for travel, why a particular flight/airline was chosen, etc. As free people we're used to coming and going as we please. Having one's shoes x-rayed does not require us to answer to anybody. It is neutral, impartial.


Egypt has received a total of $50 billion in aid from the US since 1975. This year the Senate passed $2.3 billion in aid to Israel and $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt.

We give so much aid to Egypt as a reward for playing nicely with Israel. I thought this was common knowledge.
11.27.2007 1:47pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Dang it, I forgot to mention that my friend's MIL looked just like "Molly Goldberg". If you looked up "Jewish mother" in the dictionary you would have seen her picture. No profiler would have asked her anything, except maybe to look at pictures of her grandchildren.
11.27.2007 1:56pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Gary Anderson:

"How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel?"

If you knew anything about the history of the Middle East, you wouldn't pose such a question. How about the 1936-1939 Arab revolt? Just in the period May-July 1938 Muslim Arabs attacked Jews all over Israel including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Nir, Geva, Safed, Hanita, Jaffa and other places.

Let's also remember The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni who recruited Muslims for the Waffen SS. In 1936 he instigated a wave of Arab violence against the Jews. In 1933, he
secretly met the German Consul-General Karl Wolff near the Dead Sea and expressed his approval of the anti-Jewish boycott in Germany. He did so as the elected representative of the Muslims in Palestine.
11.27.2007 1:57pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Tony Tutins:

"We give so much aid to Egypt as a reward for playing nicely with Israel. I thought this was common knowledge."

It's only common knowledge on Planet Tutins. Here on Earth, we are don't know that.
11.27.2007 2:00pm
Ken Arromdee:
Love the standard "blame the Muslim" line. "If Muslims dont want to be discriminated against, just stop the bombers from within you." I find this morally equivalent to holding every single U.S. citizen responsible for Mai Lai.

Nobody's suggesting that we walk up to Muslims and say "you're evil", or that we make it illegal to rent houses to Muslims, or otherwise do things to Muslims in contexts which have nothing to do with terrorism. The suggestion is that we pay attention to Muslims in situations where Muslims are particularly likely to cause damage. If you think there's some place where Americans are particularly likely to perform massacres, then go ahead and keep tabs on any Americans who go there.
11.27.2007 2:00pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Who helped Israel in the 1948 war?

Who established Israel in the first place?

Without outside help, Jews worked alone privately to create that country? Or they had special help? How many other countries were born that way and survived?

Sadly, the roots of this problem trace back, and until you deal with the roots... It's not enough to try and force "legitimacy" on your neighbors. You've got to address the future, and recognize, for example, that Jerusalem does not belong to the Jews alone.

We give so much aid to Egypt as a reward for playing nicely with Israel. I thought this was common knowledge.

I think it is. He's playing dumb to his non-selected facts.

I'm sorry, but Israel is not yet independent. Egypt quite clearly could continue to exist without American support. Not so Israel. Look beyond the aid numbers to history.
11.27.2007 2:05pm
byomtov (mail):
How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel?

Quite a few, actually, especially considering that the Jewish population in Muslim lands was small compared to that in pre-war Europe. And how was the creation of Israel any more "artificial" than the creation of, say, Iraq?

Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds.

It was cheered and supported by a large part of the Palestinian Arab population.
11.27.2007 2:08pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
It's only common knowledge on Planet Tutins. Here on Earth, we are don't know that.

Lol.
Think of it as bribe money.

Why do you think Egypt recognizes Israel's right to exist, and is one of her few neighbors to work with her?

Greasing the skids...
American taxpayer money, including those who still sending money privately to their own home countries.

I wish, like with the Cubans, America soon wises up that Israel's fight is not our own. If they want to continue building for their extremists, they should be doing it on American taxpayer dollar. That's true independence.
11.27.2007 2:11pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
BruceM:

"… but for our interference in the middle east, support of Israel, and general non-islamic nature."

Muslim violence is also directed against India (Kashmir), and Russia (Chechnya). Neither of these targets has anything to do with the US, Israel or the Jews. There is no desert heat and sand in Indonesia yet we saw the Muslims launch terror attacks against resorts and shopping malls.

"And then, whoever is left will live in a world of peace."


So how come we had conflict between and among atheist states like China, USSR, Korea and Yugoslavia? Do you think China and Russia were almost at war over religious problem? Did North Korea attack the South over a religious dispute?
11.27.2007 2:14pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds.

It was cheered and supported by a large part of the Palestinian Arab population.


That's not enough.

If it was necessary to artificially create a Jewish homeland, it should have been done in a small chunk of conquered Germany. It wasn't the Palestinian Arab population loading the ovens, which helped create the worldwide sympathy of a people's weakness that led to Israel's creation.

60 years on and that country is no more secure in the region than her people were in Europe 70 years ago. And America should be emulating Israeli policies? heh.
11.27.2007 2:17pm
MDJD2B (mail):




I'm suggesting that the reason the terrorist are targeting Israel might just have something to do with the fact that her borders are still in dispute.


Right. It has neigbors like Hamas that believe it should not exist at all.


Ah, but it's not like America. In Israel, to put it in Kissengerian terms, some ethnicities/peoples seem rank higher than others in terms of where you can go/drive, what you can do.



The Israel/Palestinian problem is at the root of [trrorism as ir affects the United States].


Do you really think the readers of this blog are so gullible as to believe what you imply: that if the Israel/Palestine dispute were solved-- even with the annihalation of Israel and its inhabitants-- that groups like Al Qaeda would become kissy-kissy with the United States?


So how likely would it be to have a Pakistani as prime minister of the UK? An Algerian in France? A Kurd in Sweden? I suppose they aren't democracies either. In Israel, Moslem Arabs have full rights of citizenship. Druze and Beduin serve in the armed forces. As a practical matter, they are unlikely to hold positions of power. I don't understand the relation to Kissinger. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he is a Jooo like most Israelis.


How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel?


First, the creation of the state of Israel was not artificial. It actually happened, just like several other nations were created under the aegis of the UN from former League of Nations Manadates, like Syria and Lebanon.

Second, Arabs were massacring Jews in the British mandate long before 1948. In fact, they began right after Turkey gave the place up.

Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds

But the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (admittedly not a nomad or a shepherd, but neither were most Arabs living in the British mandate) was openly pro-Nazi, and supported their goals. Fortunately (at least I think it was fortunate), he did not get to carry out his intent of liquidating the Jewish community in what is now Israel.
11.27.2007 2:17pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
yet we saw the Muslims launch terror attacks against resorts and shopping malls.

It's the whole Western way of life that has infected their region they object to. They see it as playing defense to cultural invaders.

We're paying an awful big price meddling abroad, for what is now not even a cheap fuel source anymore.

I wonder if China will be so inclined to support Israel, if Amercan power drops with the dollar.
11.27.2007 2:21pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
It has neigbors like Hamas that believe it should not exist at all.

Hmm.
I wonder why Hamas leaders -- those who haven't been summarily tried and executed from above along with their family members -- would think that way? Didn't Mr. Sharon's policies tough-guy teach them a thing or two?

I smell the feeling of security from here.
11.27.2007 2:24pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Why do you think Egypt recognizes Israel's right to exist, and is one of her few neighbors to work with her?"

Egypt lost 4 wars with Israel and its USSR patron. It also got back land for making peace and recognizing Israel. On a psychological level, Egypt also felt it reclaimed its honor through the initial successes in the 1973 war. In short, Egypt had little choice in the matter. Having no prospects of getting what it wanted through war it tied peace. Of course should the opportunities permit, they can take back the peace more easily than Israel can reclaim the land. Similar story with Jordan. The other states have chosen to use asymmetric warfare, which is harder to deal with.
11.27.2007 2:24pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
No, if we're going to do racial profiling, start including all MidEastern travellers, including those Jewish families who visit Israel. Suddenly, you'll have a concern for human rights and collective impact.

I don't want US airport screening policy to be based on "a concern for human rights and collective impact." I want it to be based on a concern for planes flying in US airspace not crashing into stuff or blowing up.
11.27.2007 2:29pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Fortunately (at least I think it was fortunate), he did not get to carry out his intent of liquidating the Jewish community in what is now Israel.

Wow.
You really are addicted to fear if you're sticking with the argument that the Arabs, not the German Nazis, were the main enemy even back then. I suppose it's because you won't get too far painting German civilization as backwards and in need of your reforming.

even with the annihalation of Israel and its inhabitants-- that groups like Al Qaeda would become kissy-kissy with the United States?

No. Like I think we all saw under the Sharon regime, it's no so easy to clean up after your mistakes. You don't treat an animal like that, and then expect it to come lick your hand on command.

The question to ask is Before America became complicit in supporting Israel's policies, was Al Queda attacking us for American action in the Middle East? You're a liar if you tell us you don't see the connection.
11.27.2007 2:30pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
I don't want US airport screening policy to be based on "a concern for human rights and collective impact." I want it to be based on a concern for planes flying in US airspace not crashing into stuff or blowing up.

I don't want Americans give in to the fear and jettison our ways of life here. We don't want police state tactics toward some of our citizens, and we refuse to live in cages like the Israeli's seem content to do. I've got a lot of company out here too.

And yes, if we lose a plane or two every now or then but keep our American way of life, well not to be crass, but the numbers killed on 9-11 weren't really that high compared to what we're paying now. Naturally, I don't live in New York and can see why some are more fearful of paying that price to keep our liberties. But America is a big country, and not everyone sees support for Israel as a top priority.
11.27.2007 2:35pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
A. Zarkov: America has always had a problem with atheistic communist states. I contend, as I always have, that our country's problem is more about the atheistic than the communist. Just another example of religion (Christianity of American majority) causing conflict. There is no intrinsic reason why capitalist countries cannot exist side by side with communist ones. The smart thing to do is just leave the communist countries alone, as they'll eventually collapse, falling apart due to their own flawed economic system.

Also, I'm not quite certain how "atheist" those communist countries actually were. Calling them "atheist" states has always been a way Americans have historically insulted them, a word Americans used to feel better about themselves. "We're people of faith, they're atheists" is merely self-congratulatory "god loves us and hates them" talk. It seems religion was quite common in soviet russia. I'm sure it's quite common in North Korea, too. Maybe one religion is more accepted than others, maybe some religions are not tolerated by the state.

But it's not like some countries were made up of people and governments completely and rationally devoid of all religion, and these countries were hostile and picked fights with America. That is a revision of history I believe is completely false.
11.27.2007 2:41pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Gary Anderson:
yet we saw the Muslims launch terror attacks against resorts and shopping malls.

It's the whole Western way of life that has infected their region they object to. They see it as playing defense to cultural invaders.

Which means so long as economic globalization continues they're going to continue to hate us. So long as we let them come to our universities to learn engineering and as a side effect they learn about our culture we'll be disrupting theirs. Even if we embargo the entire Muslim world and the only Britney Speers videos they can get are bootlegs, their clergy will still hate us for having made them at all to tempt their youth with. The Bali bombers were quite explicit that they had a specific beef with the Australians for having helped the Christians of East Timor escape genocide at Muslim hands - so any "embargo" would have to include allowing Muslims to commit atrocities in whatever they consider to be "their" turf to avoid incurring their wrath.

The Islamic world is having trouble dealing with modernity, and parts of it are lashing out violently in response.

Even if Israel were overrun tomorrow and its people massacred, the above would still be true and the rest of the world would still have a Muslim problem.
11.27.2007 2:44pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Also, Islamic violence in other parts of the world (Kashmir) are also, very clearly, due to religious differences. Not politics, not economics. Solely "god loves me and hates you, so you must die" religion.

For what it's worth, 1000 years ago Christians were the uncivilized cave-dwelling terrorists (read: Crusades) while Muslim society was quite advanced and intellectual (math, science). I'm not claming one group of people is intrinsically better than another. All religion is terrible, and when the world eventually ends in nuclear or biological destruction, it will be due to religion.
11.27.2007 2:47pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
You really are addicted to fear if you're sticking with the argument that the Arabs, not the German Nazis, were the main enemy even back then.
He's not saying that they were the main enemies, just that they were enemies, in contradiction to your claim otherwise.

I suppose it's because you won't get too far painting German civilization as backwards and in need of your reforming.
It was backwards, it did need reforming, and in case you've forgotten we occupied the place for a while to make sure the reforms happened.
11.27.2007 2:47pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
I don't understand the relation to Kissinger.

He thought some human lives were inherently worth more than others. See Indochina, much like today many Israelis view the Palestinians/Arabs as lesser humans.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he is a Jooo like most Israelis.
And please, don't call yourself names. Next thing you know, you'll be drawing swastikas on your own doors, looking for sympathy. Cmon, be a big boy, maybe even a man, and put your childish self-hating namecalling aside?
11.27.2007 2:49pm
Davide:
Hmmmm...

I thought the question on the table is: How do we fix airport security?

Most of Gary Anderson's comments seem to be centered on the notion that Israel's existence creates the security threat, because its existence inflames Muslims. Elminate Israel, I suppose, and then the threat will be gone.

Is this empirically true? In other words, is it true that, absent Israel, airport terrorists would disappear?

Let's look at the data: Richard Reid wanted to bomb an airplane recently post 9/11. He stated his complaint plainly at his sentencing: "I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don't see no comparison.
Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don't know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq."

So, let's see: complaints about Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Jordan were Reid's first, most important complaints.

Israel existing or not existing would be irrelevant to those issues. Further, it's not even in his list of top 5 issues.


2003 May 1st. - Jordan, Amman, Queen Alia International Airport: When a security officer examined a suspicious piece of metal in the baggage of a passenger bound for Cairo on an Egypt Air flight, the device exploded. The luggage belonged to a journalist named Hiroki Gomi, working for the Japanese newspaper Mainichi. He had taken the object and other artifacts as war souvenirs from Baghdad, but was unaware of its explosive character. One airport security employee was killed and three others injured.

Perhaps Mr. Anderson can elucidate, but Israel's existence (or non-existence) seems irrelevant here.

It wouldn't take much effort to look into other hijackings and attempts. A common thread currently are individuals from Muslim countries and travel to those countries. Israel? Not so much.

It's funny, isn't it, how, to some, Jews keep their odd prominence as the number one problem...
11.27.2007 2:51pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Even if Israel were overrun tomorrow and its people massacred, the above would still be true and the rest of the world would still have a Muslim problem.

We'll just have to wait and see, eh? ;-)

just that they were enemies, in contradiction to your claim otherwise.

Insignificant enemies in the course of that War. I think you're getting your enemies confused in your heads. No ovens in Palestine, no matter how much you seem to wish there were...
11.27.2007 2:53pm
byomtov (mail):
Gary: Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds.

Me: It was cheered and supported by a large part of the Palestinian Arab population.

Gary: That's not enough

Not enough for what? You argued that Muslims were not attacking Jews before 1948. MDJD2B, Zarkov, and I have all pointed out the ignorance of that statement.

Further, no one is claiming that the Grand Mufti was the main threat to European Jews. But he was certainly a threat to Jews living in the British Mandate.
11.27.2007 2:56pm
Lugo:
America's borders are clearly established;
Israel's are not, still in flux.


Wrong on both counts. A border that is not enforced is meaningless, not "clearly established".

I'm suggesting that the reason the terrorist are targeting Israel might just have something to do with the fact that her borders are still in dispute.

It is the existence of Israel that is disputed, not its borders. There is no border that will make the Arab problem go away, and achieve "peace".

Who helped Israel in the 1948 war?

The Soviet Union (via their Czech proxies)! At Soviet direction, Czechoslovakia provided $22 million in arms (in $1948) to Israel in 1948, including 50,000 rifles, 6,000 machine guns, 90 million rounds of ammunition, and Supermarine Spitfire and Avia S-199 fighter aircraft. Czech arms played a crucial role in securing air superiority over Israel and halting Arab ground advances in 1948.

Less well known is the demographic boost. To strengthen Israel, the Soviets transferred Jews from Soviet-occupied territories to Poland, fully expecting them to emigrate to Israel. The Soviets instructed Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary to permit Jewish emigration. From 1948 to 1951, over 302,000 Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe to Israel. Israel's Jewish population was only 806,000 in 1948, so this was a very significant increase.
11.27.2007 2:57pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
So, let's see: complaints about Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Jordan were Reid's first, most important complaints.

Reid, the guy who almost endangered himself blowing off his leg? My, my your fears do find credible terror threats everywhere, eh?

I'm all for Israel's right to exist. But independently. Her own actions endanger her people far more than she'd care to admit. And America as a whole shouldn't continue to be caught up in that mess. Geopolitically, we're safe maintaining our own borders, even acknowledging 9-11 and the open one with Mexico. That money could be much better spend here helping secure Americans, not Israelis.

Sorry, but I think many Americans think similarly.
11.27.2007 2:57pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
even with the annihalation of Israel and its inhabitants-- that groups like Al Qaeda would become kissy-kissy with the United States?

No. Like I think we all saw under the Sharon regime, it's no so easy to clean up after your mistakes. You don't treat an animal like that, and then expect it to come lick your hand on command.


OK, leaving the world of "coulda-shoulda-woulda" and entering the world of "How do we fix the mess we're in now," say we were to take your advice and terminate all aid to Israel, terminate all trade agreements except for multiparty trade regimes we're both members of, and basically treat Israel about as nicely as we treat, say, Venezuala:

About how long would we have to wait before Arabs and/or Muslims stop trying to kill us?
11.27.2007 3:03pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
A border that is not enforced is meaningless, not "clearly established".

Don't try to bring America down to pull Israel up. American land is not being contested anymore; we fought our own fights, won them, and moved on to live with our neighbors in relative security. Independently.

See, you can't expect others to buy or pay the price for your security. How much longer until you figure that out? How long will you continue to suckle the teat?
11.27.2007 3:03pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
OK, leaving the world of "coulda-shoulda-woulda" and entering the world of "How do we fix the mess we're in now,"

Again, it's not that easy to undo your own self-imposed deadly mistakes. In retrospect, you should have tried to hold onto the lands won in '67.

And I think we can all admit by now that Dozer Sharon was a disaster. You got yourself into this mess via those policies, and now you've got yourself an enemy calling for your total destruction. You want a quick fix out of that one? A military solution to provide elusive security?

Good luck on that one. It's a cliche really, but applies based on the law of consequences and accountability (true there's no word for accountability in the Hebrew language/) "Sucks to be you."
11.27.2007 3:07pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
BruceM:

I'm not sure I understand you. All I'm saying is that I have trouble with all-encompassing theories about human behavior because we have so many counter examples.

I think it's fair to call the USSR an atheist state. The communists pretty much eliminated institutional religion. The state and the school system were officially atheist. Poland of course is another case. But despite their overall lack of religion, the communist countries were aggressive, violent and dangerous.

I don't think we can even reduce human conflict by eliminating religion. At the risk of presenting my own grand theory of human behavior, I think humans (like our chimpanzee cousins) are genetically programmed for conflict and violence. If anything modern nation states have actually reduced violence compared to tribes, bands and chiefdoms. Pre state people engaged in violent behavior far more frequently than civilized people. In fact the violence within and among hunter-gatherers was savage and continuous. The good news is humans continue to evolve towards a less violent species.
11.27.2007 3:09pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Not enough for what?

Not enough to justify establishing the Jewish homeland in Arab Palestine, instead of carving out a chunk of conquered Germany. Europe was only to happy to have the Arabs pay the price for their sins, and you see the consequences today.
11.27.2007 3:10pm
Gideon Kanner (mail):
So now Gary Anderson takes refuge in timing. Before 1948, he says, things were just hunky dory, but later they went to hell in a handbasket. Not true.

The Arabs fought the Allies, both in the Middle East (Iraq in particular) and otherwise, after Haj Amin al Husseini, the Graqnd Mufti, raised Muslim SS battalions in the Balkan Muslim community, for his friend and benefactor Adolf Hitler. As others have noted, Arabs were attacking Jews long before the creation of Israel. Read a book by Joan Peters, entitled "From Times Immemorial."

But could this timing have had anything to do with the fact that in the first half of the 20th century, the Arabs lacked the power to be more effective, until they became Soviet clients and got their hands on some modern weaponry and serious oil money? Note that in the 1948 war the British were actively on the side of the Arabs (the British-led and financed Arab Legion under Sir John Glubb, and the British Spitfires flown for the Arabs in 1967). The US was scrupulously neutral, forbidding export of weapons to Israel. The Israelis in the 1948 war had to rely on the Eastern Bloc (notably Czechoslovakia) for weapons. Later it was France, until De Gaulle figured out that there were more Arabs than Jews.

This is a very long drama, and Gary does not appear to understand that he walked in in the middle of the umpteenth act. Also, he still offers no explanation why toward the end of the 20th century Arabs and Muslims turned on the Brits, the Spaniards, the Indians, the Australians, and other non-Muslim people in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East. How is all that Isreal's fault?

Finally, Gary, being an American and this being basically a legal blog, you should read the Supreme Court's opinion in Johnson v. M'Intosh and learn what the US law is on the point of the rights of conquerors. So who is any American to lecture others in such matters?
11.27.2007 3:15pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):

OK, leaving the world of "coulda-shoulda-woulda" and entering the world of "How do we fix the mess we're in now,"

Again, it's not that easy to undo your own self-imposed deadly mistakes. In retrospect, you should have tried to hold onto the lands won in '67.

And I think we can all admit by now that Dozer Sharon was a disaster. You got yourself into this mess via those policies, and now you've got yourself an enemy calling for your total destruction. You want a quick fix out of that one? A military solution to provide elusive security?

Good luck on that one. It's a cliche really, but applies based on the law of consequences and accountability (true there's no word for accountability in the Hebrew language/) "Sucks to be you."


You misunderstand where I'm coming from. I'm an American citizen, my foreign policy views tend to pulled back and forth between "isolationism" and "whatever's good for trade," and I'm involved in a discussion about US airport security in which you seem to be saying "Want secure airports in the US? Ditch Israel and the Arabs and/or Muslims will stop trying to kill you."

And my question in response, which I think is perfectly justified from a practical point of view, is "About how long will it take from when we ditch Israel to when we see a perceptibly reduced frequency of Arabs and/or Muslims trying to kill us?"
11.27.2007 3:18pm
Gideon Kanner (mail):
Gay Anderson (cont'd.)

"Arab Palestine"??? Allow me to remind you that before the 1950s "Palestinian" meant Jewish and "Palestine" meant the place where Jews lived. The Jerusalem Post was called the Palestine Post, they had a Jewish Palestine Symphony Orchestra, and the Jewish troops serving in the British Army in WW II wore shoulder patches with a star of David, and the word "Palestine." No such Arab troops existed because Arabs were on the side of the Nazis. I am old enough to remember when one of the anti-Semites' favorite line was to say to a Jew "Go back to Palestine!"

In 1948, the West bank was absorbed by Trans-Jordan and Gaza by Egypt, and there was neither a move nor a demand for any sort of independent "Palestinian" state -- Pan-Arabism ruled and no one on the Arab side let out so much as a peep favoring a state of Palestine. Remember the United Arab Republic?

Toward the end of the 19th century the Holy Land was largely a sparsely populated wasteland neglected by the Turks who ruled it. It was only after Jews started to immigrate and buy land from Arabs who were eager to sell it, that it became more prosperous. Read the tail end of the second volume of Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad," describing what it was like. It was only after the Jews revived agriculture that prosperity began and attracted Arabs from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt who immigrated to take advantage of it. So the people who call themselves "Palestinians" are actually descendants, a couple of generations removed, from Arab immigrants. Their ancestral territorial claim is no better than that of the Jews who, in fact have lived there going back thousands of years. E,g., at the turn of the [19th] century, Jews constituted a majority of inhabitants of Jerusalem. In fact the Jews founded Jerusalem 3000 years ago.

So if you want to be historically accurate, it was the Arabs who conquered Palestine and settled there. If it's OK for them to do so, why not for the Jews to recapture their ancestral lands?
11.27.2007 3:41pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Egypt became the no. 2 recipient of U.S. foreign aid as part of the Camp David accords that led to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. A succinct reference can be found here.

I think it's funny how a discussion of security techniques turned into a discussion of Muslims and terrorism, and finally a discussion of Israel's right to exist. Just realize that the number of Muslims living in the US has shot up since the 1965 immigration law, and that for years, whenever I took a cab, it was driven by a Muslim. There are places in Chicago where street parking is impossible on Fridays because all the cabbies are going to the mosque. If Muslims are inherently dangerous, they represent a substantial Fifth Column -- they're everywhere.
11.27.2007 3:52pm
Davide:
Gary Anderson,

Your comments are now not making much sense.

Remember when you wrote:

How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel?

You seemed to claim that Israel was the reason Muslims attack America.

Then I showed you this was false. Reid (a Muslim) in 2002 tried to bomb a plane because of US and foreign governmental actions in Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. No Israel. You said: "My, my your fears do find credible terror threats everywhere, eh?" That's irrelevant and wrong. It's not "my" fears, remember: it's Reid's concerns -- the terrorist who you claimed wouldn't bomb but for Israel's existence. Your reply simply doesn't deal with the issue.


Next, I showed you in 2003 that a bombing took place due to someone traveling to Iraq. No Israel.

So fess up: other than you claiming this, WHO, precisely, is saying that s/he wants to bomb Americans because of Israel?

Inability to name someone betrays the falsity in your argument: namely, the only one with a bugaboo about Israel, it seems, is you.
11.27.2007 3:57pm
MDJD2B (mail):

And please, don't call yourself names.


Do you assume that everyone who supports Israel is Jewish?
11.27.2007 4:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Egypt became the no. 2 recipient of U.S. foreign aid as part of the Camp David accords …"

You reference doesn't say that US foreign aid to Egypt was "part of the Camp David Accords …"

It says
"An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979."
Why not look at the accords themselves? According to Wikipedia, the accords consisted of two agreements. The first agreement had three parts none of which addressed American aid. The second agreement dealt with Egyptian-Israeli relations. While the US aid to Egypt and Israel followed the agreements, I don't see any evidence that the agreements were contingent on subsequent American aid. The second agreement gave Egypt an outline for a peace treaty, which provided for a return of the Sinai. Now if you want to say that Egypt would never have agreed to the accords absent a promise of US aid, you need to provide more evidence than simply saying it's "common knowledge."
11.27.2007 4:36pm
Seamus (mail):

"Arab Palestine"??? Allow me to remind you that before the 1950s "Palestinian" meant Jewish and "Palestine" meant the place where Jews lived.



Uh, huh. I guess, then, that the Palestinian National Congress, which in 1919 met in Jerusalem and sent two memoranda to the Paris Peace Conference rejecting the Balfour Declaration and calling for independence, must have been a Jewish group.
11.27.2007 4:57pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Do you assume that everyone who supports Israel is Jewish?

No at all.
Have I noticed a trend of them laying down the " Joooos " language as compared to gentiles or other outsiders referring to Jewish people this way? Damn right.

So tell us, whoever wrote that " Joooos " remark, are you? If not, don't you consider that kind of namecalling of others a bit offensive?

I'm suspecting the person who wrote that was, in fact. I only wish they'd see that tactic is about as credible as those who would paint swastikas on their own doors in a bid for victimization credibility.

Just because we don't want America supporting Israel or any immigrant's homeland over the interests of our own, doesn't mean we're against Jewish people. Please stop playing the "everybody who doesn't support Israel and feels bad about the mess she's gotten herself into and the consequences she facing" is an anti Semite. That card was played out long ago, and there's less and less reason to not remain critical of Israel's policies out of fear of offending. In fact, a little bit more honest criticism earlier in the game might have stopped her from finding herself in the inenviable position she's in now.


Now if you want to say that Egypt would never have agreed to the accords absent a promise of US aid, you need to provide more evidence than simply saying it's "common knowledge."

Lol. Hmm... so tell us all your theory of why Egypt agreed to recognize them then after so many years if the money had little to do with it? Jimmy Carter's charm?
11.27.2007 5:06pm
Yankev (mail):
Gary Anderson

How many Muslims were targeting Jews prior to the artificial creation of the State of Israel? Remember, the Holocaust was perpetuated by teh Germans, Europeans, not the Palestinian nomads and shepherds.

Plenty. Including those who were slaughtered in Hebron and Jerusalem in 1929, those who lived with no legal rights in the Ottoman Empire, those who were hung from lamp posts in Iraq during and before the second world war.

You are aware, by the way, that the Muslim Brotherhood was inspired and trained by the Nazis, and that there were numerous Nazi sympathizers among the Arabs? And that the targetting of Jews was by no means limited to the area set aside for a Jewish state? And that many of the victims of these pogroms were by no means Zionists?

As for your observation about Israeli terrorists -- how many have targetted the US? Oh, that's right -- none. How many have hijacked or attacked aircraft? Oh, that's right, none. But your moral equivalence, though smug and ignorant, is somewhat amusing.

The more telling point was the one you made earlier -- any American Jew who has visited Israel presents a risk to the US because of their obvious disloyalty. It sounds as though you would be better advised to set up your screeners at the voting booth instead of the airport.
11.27.2007 5:16pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
You said: "My, my your fears do find credible terror threats everywhere, eh?" That's irrelevant and wrong. It's not "my" fears, remember: it's Reid's concerns -- the terrorist who you claimed wouldn't bomb but for Israel's existence. Your reply simply doesn't deal with the issue.

Reid was trumped up, and never a credible threat other than blowing his own leg off. His reasons for the non-terrorist attack are not relevant. Your fears give him more power than he had, and your looking into his motivations is just plain silly.

About how long will it take from when we ditch Israel to when we see a perceptibly reduced frequency of Arabs and/or Muslims trying to kill us?"

It's not that easy to just erase the past. Just like in Gaza, there's lingering damage. Getting out was a little too little, a little to late. You'd don't automatically get absolved for all the bad just by trying a quick fix later.

Blaming the victims in Gaza for not being able to put all their dead, and what they see as years and years of injustices from Israel and America, behind them to start life anew, that's no answer. This is the legacy that Israel has inherited from Sharon's failed heavy-handed policies. What's happening today in Gaza, the same thing.

You want to starve, bomb, and kill these people into submission, but it's not working. There's no quick fix for what Israel, with American backing, has done in the past. Accountability.

Christians preach forgiveness, and loving your neighbor as you love yourself. In practical terms, there's a reason for that. Israel should expect to just play nice one day (because as Sharon learned, playing tough guy didn't work) and then all the collateral damage from their past actions goes away? That's not practical, and that's not how forgiveness works either.

Justice, justice you shall pursue. And that's exactly what Palestinian people see themselves doing, I suspect. How many dead children have they buried compared to Israel? You would have them just forget their dead innocents and ancestral lands with no compensation? Again, that's like kicking a starving dog, maybe later throwing him a scrap, and expecting him to lick your hand.
11.27.2007 5:19pm
Seamus (mail):

In 1948, the West bank was absorbed by Trans-Jordan and Gaza by Egypt, and there was neither a move nor a demand for any sort of independent "Palestinian" state -- Pan-Arabism ruled and no one on the Arab side let out so much as a peep favoring a state of Palestine.



I guess you missed the annex to the Covenant of the Arab League (issued March 22, 1945), which stated: "Even though Palestine was not able to control her own destiny, it was on the basis of the recognition of her independence that the Covenant of the League of Nations determined a system of government for her. Her existence and her independence among the nations can, therefore, no more be questioned de jure than the independence of any of the other Arab States... Therefore, the States signatory to the Pact of the Arab League consider that in view of Palestine's special circumstances, the Council of the League should designate an Arab delegate from Palestine to participate in its work until this country enjoys actual independence."

I guess you also missed the statement of the Arab League on the establishment of the State of Israel (May 15, 1948), to the effect that "The Governments of the Arab States recognize that the independence of Palestine, which has so far been suppressed by the British Mandate, has become an accomplished fact for the lawful inhabitants of Palestine. They alone, by virtue of their absolute sovereignty, have the right to provide their country with laws and governmental institutions. They alone should exercise the attributes of their independence, through their own means and without any kind of foreign interference, immediately after peace, security, and the rule of law have been restored to the country. At that time the intervention of the Arab states will cease, and the independent State of Palestine will cooperate with the (other member) States of the Arab League in order to bring peace, security and prosperity to this part of the world. The Governments of the Arab States emphasize, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, (and whereby) minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognized in democratic constitutional countries and (whereby) the holy places will be preserved and the rights of access thereto guaranteed."

I think each of these statements qualifies as at least "a peep."
11.27.2007 5:19pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Before 1948, he says, things were just hunky dory, but later they went to hell in a handbasket. Not true.

The Arabs fought the Allies,


And Gideon is hyping the Arab threat to the Allies in WWII to make a point about his enemy today. Sorry, it was Germany/Italy/Japan that comprised the main Axis powers, not the Arab states. How quickly we forget...
11.27.2007 5:22pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Major Axis powers
2.1 Germany
2.2 Japan
2.3 Italy
3 Minor powers
3.1 Hungary
3.2 Romania
3.3 Slovak Republic
3.4 Bulgaria
3.5 Yugoslavia
3.6 Croatia
3.7 Thailand
4 Co-belligerents
4.1 Finland
4.2 Iraq

Way down on the list Gideon. Why would you want to rewrite history or make the Palestinians accommodate the Holocaust Jews when they weren't responsible for the European displacement or ovens?
11.27.2007 5:25pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
As for your observation about Israeli terrorists -- how many have targetted the US? Oh, that's right -- none. How many have hijacked or attacked aircraft? Oh, that's right, none

How much American technology and money has been spent on Israeli policies that kill Palestinian children/innocents?

I only wish the answer was a clean, "None".
11.27.2007 5:28pm
Yankev (mail):

Please stop playing the "everybody who doesn't support Israel and feels bad about the mess she's gotten herself into and the consequences she facing" is an anti Semite.

How about the "someone who makes sweeping and demonstratively false statements about Jewish Americans, the history of the middle east, the Hebrew language and sounds like he gets his history from a mixture of Jimmy Carter, Walt &Mearsheimer and the Turner Diaries obviously doesn't know what he's talking about" card. By the way, among the Hebrew words for accountability (and there are several, but I am not fluent), the one "achrayut" comes to mind. There are others, but I can't think of them just at the moment. In case you want to look it up, the second letter is a chet, not a chaf, and the last letter is a thav, not a tet.
11.27.2007 5:30pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
The more telling point was the one you made earlier -- any American Jew who has visited Israel presents a risk to the US because of their obvious disloyalty.

You're a poor reader, putting words in my mouth.

If we are going to put American citizens of Arabic ancestry through special questioning tactics at the airports, I'm suggesting we should also do the same for American citizens with Jewish-American sounding names who travel to Israel frequently. Believe it or not, there are dangerous extremists in Israel too. Not that they'd have any cause to take out a US airplane when the US is currently an ally.

I just thought if we're going to be so quick to profile and throw away the American Bill of Rights, why not let the Andersons and Johnsons pass and concentrate on check out all citizens of Middle East ancestry. Better safe than sorry, right? And you can never be too fearful of possible dark-eyed "outsiders", eh?

Slippery slope...
11.27.2007 5:34pm
Brian K (mail):
Again, I don't think the pro-affirmative action/anti-airport profiling types (e.g., Prof. Muller) have a very good answer for these kinds of questions.

Since you seem to know everything, what answer would the anti-affirmative action/pro-airport profiling type give? if there is something special about an ethnicity/race that warrants profiling, why are diversity oriented affirmative action programs wrong?
11.27.2007 5:35pm
Yankev (mail):

How much American technology and money has been spent on Israeli policies that kill Palestinian children/innocents?

I only wish the answer was a clean, "None".


Gary, change your question from "kill" to "deliberately kill" or "target" and the answer WOULD be a clean "None." Too bad you can't say the same thing about American technology and policies that have allowed the Palestinian Authority to deliberately target and kill innocent Palestinian, Jewish and American kids. Say what you will, the Palestinians have suffered more at the hands of other Palestinians (including their own elected leaders) and the Arab states than they ever have at the hands of the Israelis.
11.27.2007 5:36pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
obviously doesn't know what he's talking about" card.

Sorry for not swallowing your propaganda. Maybe we should enact some mandatory education in American schools about how the Arabs were a major threat during WWII?

You might have to educate us Americans better, while you're busy showing us how to emulate Israel's successful security policies, eh?
11.27.2007 5:37pm
Seamus (mail):
Iraq wasn't a "co-belligerent" in the way that Finland was. Finland actually attacked the Soviet Union, in concert with Germany. Iraq, on the other hand, was attacked, and its short-lived pro-Axis government replaced with one that brought Iraq into the war on the side of the Allies. That is how Iraq (along with Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria) was (unlike Finland) eligible to attend the Conference on International Organization at San Francisco and become a charter member of the United Nations.
11.27.2007 5:41pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Gary, change your question from "kill" to "deliberately kill" or "target" and the answer WOULD be a clean "None."

A dead child is a dead child to the families, Yankev, whether it was intentional or incompetence.

I suspect that's at the heart of what the continued failed policies and expectations for hand-licking is missing.

You think a "whoopsie, not intentional" or a "sure Isreal killed plenty but others have killed more" matters. It doesn't.

That's the great thing about the America's Constituion: due process of the law, and a rule about trials before executions can do wonders for a justice system. No imprisonment without trials.

Hey, it's late, but maybe Israel can learn something from America about living in security afterall. So far, our ways have been successful; Sharon's collective tactics? Not so much...

And nobody's going to come in and clean up your messes. Best to clean it up yourself and stop repeating the errors, and killings of innocents?
11.27.2007 5:43pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
In case you want to look it up, the second letter is a chet, not a chaf, and the last letter is a thav, not a tet.

Accountability.
Maybe you should look it up.
Seems Isreal might have more success if that words was on the tips of more tongues. Unintentional actions or not.
11.27.2007 5:45pm
Seamus (mail):

You think a "whoopsie, not intentional" or a "sure Isreal killed plenty but others have killed more" matters. It doesn't.




Well, even a dog understands the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over. Hell, I even think Dick Cheney's hunting partners understand the difference between being shot accidentally and being shot on purpose.
11.27.2007 5:48pm
Seamus (mail):
Oh, yes, Yugoslavia really doesn't belong on the list of minor Axis powers either. Like Iraq, Yugoslavia briefly fell under the sway of a pro-Axis government that was quickly thrown out and that never had a chance to make war on anyone. (The overthrown of the Yugoslav pro-Axis government, however, didn't require British military might, but was pulled off by the Yugoslavs themselves.) Yugoslavia, like Iraq, was counted as one of the Allies and therefore became a charter member of the United Nations.
11.27.2007 5:51pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Hey, it's late, but maybe Israel can learn something from America about living in security afterall.


What the American secret? Have oceans on two sides and smaller, weaker neighbors on the other two sides?

Did you know that the US attacked Canada three times-- twice during the revolution and once in 1812? And that many in mexico are still angry about the seizure of the northern 1/4 of their nation in 1849?
11.27.2007 6:07pm
Yankev (mail):

You might have to educate us Americans better

For what it's worth, Gary, I was born in Chicago, IL in the good old USA, as were both my parents. Two of my grandparents (one on each side) were born in the USA, the other two immigrated very young and became citizens very young. One grandfather fought in both world wars, and my father (olav ha'Sholom) fought in the Pacific theater during the second one. So I'll grant you that criticizing Israel does not make someone an anti-Semite. Believing that Jews aren't "real" Americans does. Your comment about my having to convince "us Americans", along with your earlier reference to "immigrants", makes it pretty clear where you stand on the issue, so forgive me if your lectures about fair play and all that ring a bit hollow to me.
11.27.2007 6:09pm
Yankev (mail):

A dead child is a dead child to the families, Yankev, whether it was intentional or incompetence



Oh, it's perfectly intentional -- just not on Israel's part. It works like this. Someone wants to kill as many civilians as possible and does not care who gets hurt in the process -- though preferably not himself. So he sets up a rocket launcher in a civilian apartment building and launches rockets at a kindergarden on the other side of the border. Or he stands behind a group of kids and opens fire with a gun. Now you choose --- do you shoot back and risk killing civilians, or do you let him kill you and your kids? Under the Geneva Convention, if you do shoot back, the culpability for the dead civilians is on him, not on you. You can look that up, too.
11.27.2007 6:14pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
the Muslim Brotherhood was inspired and trained by the Nazis, and that there were numerous Nazi sympathizers among the Arabs?

This is not surprising because the colonized Arabs and the Nazis had a common enemy, the British. Similarly, at least one IRA leader was trained in the use of explosives by the Nazis, as part of the IRA's war on Britain. It's only human nature to sympathize with anyone who deals a blow to one's enemy.
11.27.2007 6:29pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Oh, it's perfectly intentional -- just not on Israel's part. It works like this. Someone wants to kill as many civilians as possible and does not care who gets hurt in the process -- though preferably not himself. So he sets up a rocket launcher in a civilian apartment building and launches rockets at a kindergarden on the other side of the border. Or he stands behind a group of kids and opens fire with a gun. Now you choose --- do you shoot back and risk killing civilians, or do you let him kill you and your kids? Under the Geneva Convention, if you do shoot back, the culpability for the dead civilians is on him, not on you. You can look that up, too.



The saddest part is,
I really suspect you believe this. How sad. It really must take something out of you, in a human sense, to condone the killing of innocents like that in your quest for land.

Remember the family killed vacationing at the beach who were "unintentionally" targeted with only the little girl surviving because she was far enough away when the Israeli delivered death from above?

Damn, those Palis are really good!
Rachel Corrie too.
11.27.2007 6:32pm
Yankev (mail):
Nothing I say is going to change Gary's mind, but the words of Natan Sharansky bear repeating: When a civilian dies in an IDF operation, Israel deems the operation a failure. a civilian dies in a Palestinain terrorist operation, the terrorists deem the operation a success, and the more they kill, the greater the success. Israel launches an investigation whenever a civilian is killed by the IDF, the government and the IDF launch an investigation to determine whether the army was in fact either careless or wanton, and if so, the offending soldier and officer are punished. Palestinians pass out candy to children in the street when Jewish civilians are killed by Palestinians.

Israel puts its own soldiers at risk to minimize the danger to Arab civilians, as it did in Jenin and elsewhere. No other nation including the US puts its forces at risk in that manner. (And as an American, I'm glad the US doesn't.) In thanks, the world smears Israel with false accusations of massacres and atrocities. Sorry, that's just not the same to me as deliberately spraying a pregnant mother and her kids with machine gun fire after running her car off the road, or bursting into a civilian home on a Friday night and machine gunning everyone there, or blowing up a packed pizza shop or restauarant. And then complaining that security measures intended to make it harder for you to do it again are inconveniencing you and inspiring you to more attacks.
11.27.2007 6:35pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
So he sets up a rocket launcher in a civilian apartment building and launches rockets at a kindergarden on the other side of the border.

Ironic though, isn't it, how the majority of the dead children are Palestinian and not Israeli kindergartners.

Never let the facts/numbers stand in the way of a good fear fantasy though!

I can assure you, speaking as a good solid Midwesterner though: most Americans will never emulate Israeli actions that either through incompetence/intention.

That's why you don't see support any more for the Iraqi war that killed how many innocents/children? Down deep, we just must not have Israel's ability to swallow the propaganda that blames kids for our killing them.

We might prefer to look away, and not think of the consequences we're accountable for, but down deep, it shames up killing children with our bombs, and most people wish we'd never consented to be led down that path in Iraq.

We won't do it again in Iran, either. Israel will have to do her killing of the general population herself, you know to protect all those innocent Israeli kindergartners in immediate danger who would be killed by those ticking time bombs that must be taken out immediately, no questions asked.
11.27.2007 6:41pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
When a civilian dies in an IDF operation, Israel deems the operation a failure.

But they continue making the same mistakes, killing innocents over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

If it's not intentional, damn that's incompetence all that "failure". Something about atonement... ? And continuing to pursue the same failed policies that bring about the same results.
11.27.2007 6:44pm
Yankev (mail):

Remember the family killed vacationing at the beach who were "unintentionally" targeted with only the little girl surviving because she was far enough away when the Israeli delivered death from above?


Yeah, and I also remember that there were no Israeli military operations anywhere near that beach. And that the PA rushed to clean up the scene to make it harder to discover that the explosions came from underground, where they had cached explosives, and not from the sky, where they claim Israel had delivered "death from above." And that the craters that supposedely evidenced Israel's culpability were inconsistent with the Arab version of what happened. And I remember the phony charges of a massacre at Jenin, and the phony charges in 1967 that Israeli soldiers had raped nuns when entering the Old City. And the phony charges that Israel had desecrated the Church of the Nativity. Funny, that's not what the monks who had been rescued by the IDF said. And the phony charges that Israel was trying to undermine the Al Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

I also remember that Rachel Corrie was playing cat and mouse with an armored bulldozer when she slipped under its treads, all while trying to keep an arms smuggling tunnel from being demolished.

"killing of innocents like that in your quest for land"? It's not about how much land Israel will have, its about whether Israel will be allowed to exist at all. Read the PA National Covenant for crying out loud. Read the Hamas charter and the Fatah charter. Do you really think it's about whether the border is 5 miles this way or 5 miles that way? I agree with you that someone in this discussion is thoroughly infected by propaganda, but it sure ain't me.

And by the way, how did this become my quest for land? I live in the US, remember?
11.27.2007 6:45pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
No other nation including the US puts its forces at risk in that manner.

I love it how quickly you're willing to put Israel over the United States. Wowee, we really should be emulating those brave successful and secure Israelis, eh?



In thanks, the world smears Israel with false accusations of massacres and atrocities.

Lol. God you must thing the rest of us are stupid. We've seen the bodies. And they say Holocaust denial is rampant...
11.27.2007 6:47pm
Yankev (mail):

That's why you don't see support any more for the Iraqi war that killed how many innocents/children? Down deep, we just must not have Israel's ability to swallow the propaganda that blames kids for our killing them.

And which was inspired by Israel? Or just by Jews in general, in carrying out that grand old Jewish tradition of slaughtering innocent kids just out of shear greed, cussedness, cowardice and inhumanity?
11.27.2007 6:48pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Palestinians pass out candy to children in the street when Jewish civilians are killed by Palestinians.

This act is still not so offensive as the numbers of dead Palestianian innocents. Gee, I wonder why they would celebrate when your peoples are targeted and taken out.
11.27.2007 6:49pm
Yankev (mail):

God you must thing the rest of us are stupid. We've seen the bodies. And they say Holocaust denial is rampant...



So there really was a massacre at Jenin? Tell me another.

I think I'm going to go where the air is a little cleaner for a while.
11.27.2007 6:49pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
eah, and I also remember that there were no Israeli military operations anywhere near that beach. And that the PA rushed to clean up the scene to make it harder to discover that the explosions came from underground, where they had cached explosives, and not from the sky, where they claim Israel had delivered "death from above."

No, that's the story Israel tried to pass off after the fact, to avoid taking responsibility for the civilian innocents killed. The wounds on the bodies were consistent with "death from above" and there was an Israeli tower practicing military operations at the same time.

Please stop with the lies and have some shame. This is no way to build a country, killing families visiting the beach. Talk to the IDF soldiers who have testified on what they did when they "served". It's sick for the soul to participate in such atrocities, but it's probably easier to sit back here and try to justify so many innocent deaths, intentional and incompetence.

So much for the shining light on the hill.
11.27.2007 6:53pm
Gary Anderson (mail):

I think I'm going to go where the air is a little cleaner for a while.


I'd run away too rather than trying to continue to blaming the dead innocents. There's just too many for you to even try to justify them all. Shame on your soul.
11.27.2007 6:55pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
And which was inspired by Israel?

Ironically it sure was convenient and helpful to Israel for America to remove Saddam's financing of Palestinian suicide bombers, eh?

And now with a real Army camped next door, ready to protect Israel at a moment's notice... well it certainly has emboldened the settlement construction, eh? What a nice gift our dead soldiers are providing Israel. You might try a "thank you, America" every now and then...
11.27.2007 6:59pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Lol. Hmm... so tell us all your theory of why Egypt agreed to recognize them then after so many years if the money had little to do with it? Jimmy Carter's charm?"


Egypt got the Sinai back in return for making a peace treaty with Israel. Not a bad deal for them. They could have held out and got nothing. Besides you have the burden of proof since you are the one asserting the US had to bribe Egypt.
11.27.2007 7:01pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
It's not about how much land Israel will have, its about whether Israel will be allowed to exist at all. Read the PA National Covenant for crying out loud. Read the Hamas charter and the Fatah charter. Do you really think it's about whether the border is 5 miles this way or 5 miles that way?

At this point, can you blame them? Would you trust Israel at this time to be a good neighbor? They keep building, aren't good for their words. It's the water supply, stupid.

That's pretty dumb of Israel actually -- what do the Palestinians have to lose in calling full-hogg for Israel's destruction at this point? The thing to remember is: Israel demographically is in a no-win situation. You can't kill your way to security. And sadly, America can't afford to protect Israel forever.

I wish the Israeli's loved their children too.
11.27.2007 7:04pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Besides you have the burden of proof since you are the one asserting the US had to bribe Egypt.

Israel is not America's burden.

Without the gifts, Egypt wouldn't have recognized Israel's legitimacy. Or do you think the Egyptians just wanted to be friends?

Look up the word, bribe.
11.27.2007 7:06pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Believing that Jews aren't "real" Americans does.

Boo hoo hoo.
You made that up I said that.
Just like the young ones drawing swastikas on their dorm doors, and the insinuations that others call you Jooooooos.

Sure do have to make up a lot of enemies and ways Israel and the Jewish people are being victimized to justify those killer policies, eh?

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, playing the victim card, and grow some balls? Lots of Americans support their homelands. They just don't expect America to finance their fights anymore. see Cuba.
11.27.2007 7:12pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
What the American secret?

Presumed innocent before proven guilty in a court of law.
No quick "death from above" assassinations.
No collective punishments.
All citizens treated equally in the eyes of the law


America might have her justice problems to some degree, but overall the Constitution has served her well. And security is helped by a geography sure, but I suspect those factors above may have contributed to us sleeping soundly, while Israeli's have to segregate themselves in gilded cages and have armed guards in their airports, on their streets, etc. I suspect down deep, they respect the success of Nazi Germany that they are emulating.
11.27.2007 7:17pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
Seven Iraqis, among them three women and a child, were reported killed today by the US military, a day after Washington and Baghdad agreed to keep American forces in Iraq beyond 2008.

God bless our soldiers' souls.
We have no more business being there.
What will it take to get America out?
11.27.2007 7:20pm
Oren:

I don't want US airport screening policy to be based on "a concern for human rights and collective impact." I want it to be based on a concern for planes flying in US airspace not crashing into stuff or blowing up.


They won't one way or the other.
11.27.2007 8:52pm
MDJD2B (mail):


I really suspect you believe this. How sad. It really must take something out of you, in a human sense, to condone the killing of innocents like that in your quest for land.


Gary,

I presume you are equally concerned for the folks in Israel killed by the suicide bombers. Or the childeren of Ma'alot-- mostly children of Jewish refugees from Islamic nations-- who were gunned down by terrorists.
11.27.2007 9:06pm
MDJD2B (mail):

I wish the Israeli's loved their children too.


This is obscene.
11.27.2007 9:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MDJD
You presume wrongly.

And Anderson's reply to the statement about the Geneva Convention's position on hiding among civilians is interesting. It means the side most efficient at hiding among civilians wins. I'd be surprised if even Anderson has figured out what that actually means.
Even he might think that's not such a hot idea.
Probably.
11.27.2007 11:50pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Gary Anderson, predictably, dodges once agains:

About how long will it take from when we ditch Israel to when we see a perceptibly reduced frequency of Arabs and/or Muslims trying to kill us?"

It's not that easy to just erase the past. Just like in Gaza, there's lingering damage. Getting out was a little too little, a little to late. You'd don't automatically get absolved for all the bad just by trying a quick fix later.


Assume I'm a cynical, Machiavellian "America-Firster". I'm seriously considering terminating one alliance (Israel) in hopes of gaining other valuable considerations (cessation of Arab/Muslim hostilities against the US, cheaper oil, access to new markets). There's a cost to this transaction - it makes our other allies nervous, and we have to pay bigger bribes to keep them on their side. So in evaluating the deal I want to know what the payoff is and when we can expect to get it.

So, how long does it take from when we ditch Israel to when Arabs and/or Muslims stop trying to kill us? It may be an incorrect cultural stereotype, but my impression is that those guys are real good at holding grudges.
11.28.2007 8:19am
Yankev (mail):

So, how long does it take from when we ditch Israel to when Arabs and/or Muslims stop trying to kill us?


Excellent point. Here's another -- Israel is way down on there list of gripes and goals, and is moved to the top only temporarily and only when convenient. Sell Israel to the wolves and the other supposed grievances are still there.
11.28.2007 9:26am
Yankev (mail):
Despite his protestations, here are a few things that Anderson has said that shed light on his willingness to believe the worst of Israel and the best of those who would annihilate Israel:

Jewish Americans are immigrants, regardless of their US citizenship, place of birth, or how long their families have lived in the US. They are not included in the category of "us Americans."

Jewish Americans (but apparently not other Americans) who visit Israel have demonstrated their disloyalty to the US and present a clear risk that they will commit acts of terrorism against the US.

Jews do not understand the concept of accountability. There is no such word in the Hebrew language (and by implication, no such concept inherent to the Jewish religion).

Jews, if they could, would set up compulsory education programs to force feed lies to real Americans, just like they did with mandatory Holocaust education.

Israelis have no love for their own children, and certainly no pity for the children of other peoples.

Israel manipulated the US into the Iraq war, thereby serving Israel's own ends.

Gary calls this playing the victim card. Fortunately, in the US, he has no power to victimize anyone. I am merely pointing out what he has said in his various posts on this thread.

I have met relatively few anti-Semitten in my 57 years. Out of that admittedly small sample, very few would admit to others or themselves that they held certain attitudes about Jews as a whole. Most had excuses and rationalizations, and considered themselves objective and fair minded people. But they all left the same smell behind them.

Pointing that out is not playing the victim card, Gary. It's just knowing who you're dealing with.
11.28.2007 9:38am
Yankev (mail):
Getting back to the main point of this thread --

Here's why it matters that Israel has one airport and we have many. Anyone flying to or from Israel's airport is by definition making an international flight. I think most of us expect more scrutiny when crossing an international border, even if we are simply returning to the US. When I come to a foreign country, it's not unreasonable for them to want to know why I'm coming, at least within reason, and that I am who I say I am. (E.g. the question about observing Jewish holidays is not meant to screen out those who don't, but to screen out those who claim to but turn out to know even the basic details of those holidays; it's the game taught in "Trial Practice in a Nutshell" -- if this were true, what else must be true?")To a lesser degree, this applies when I return to the states as well.

By contrast, when the government wants to know why I'm flying from Columbus to NY, I have the right to tell them it's none of their business. That's a right that Americans used to take for granted, and there are progressively fewer situations where we still can.
11.28.2007 9:48am
Lugo:
Why should security necessarily be greater on an international flight? None of the four aircraft hijacked on 9/11 was an international flight. This argument might have more force if the US actually controlled its borders, but since it does not, bad guys could easily come here illegally and buy tickets on a domestic flight (as they essentially did on 9/11). Thus, there is no practical difference, from a security standpoint, between domestic and international flights.
11.28.2007 9:59am
Oren:

Or he stands behind a group of kids and opens fire with a gun. Now you choose --- do you shoot back and risk killing civilians, or do you let him kill you and your kids?


Yankev, I hope (well, of course not really, but for the purposes of this particular mental exercise) that your children are taken hostage in a bank robbery so you can explain to the police your detailed reasoning on why preserving the life of the innocent is less important than killing the guilty.

I've never heard or conceived of anyone other than Dzerzhinskii implying a Blackstone ratio of less than 1. Truly disgusting.


I wish the Israeli's loved their children too.

Also disgusting.
11.28.2007 10:09am
Oren:

By contrast, when the government wants to know why I'm flying from Columbus to NY, I have the right to tell them it's none of their business. That's a right that Americans used to take for granted, and there are progressively fewer situations where we still can.


I tend to answer "to visit friends" whenever they ask me where I'm going. There's really no followup questions.
11.28.2007 10:10am
Yankev (mail):

Thus, there is no practical difference, from a security standpoint, between domestic and international flights.

Fully agreed. My point is simply that most people would tolerate a greater degree of intrusion into their affairs when crossing a border than not.
11.28.2007 10:38am
Yankev (mail):

Yankev, I hope (well, of course not really, but for the purposes of this particular mental exercise) that your children are taken hostage in a bank robbery so you can explain to the police your detailed reasoning on why preserving the life of the innocent is less important than killing the guilty.

Not a parallell situation, Oren. The bank robber is not actively and presently threatening the lives of dozens of people the way the terrorist is. But I see your point, and you could easily change the hypothetical to being taken hostage by terrorists launching rockets or spraying a crowd with fire from automatic weapons. It's still an unconvincing argument, akin to hoping that someone's loved ones are kidnapped so that we can see whether they REALLY oppose torturing suspects, or the death penalty, painful forms of execution, or what have you. Nonetheless, the Geneva Convention puts the culpability squarely on those who mount attacks using human shields, which is what Hamas, Hizbollah et al are fond of doing, and not on those who defend against those attacks and collaterally kill civilians in the process. Yes, it all sounds so neat and sterile and facile in print, and yes, it's bloody and horrible and soul wracking when it happens, regardless of who is in the right. That's one of the many things that makes war so ugly. But it's not a good reason to refuse to fight back against people who are trying to kill you and your family, and who will be satisfied with nothing less than your enslavement (perhaps) or the termination of your existence.

Sorry that I am not familiar with Dzerzhinskii nor the Blackstone ratio (it's been some 30 years since I read Blackstone's commentaries, but I don't even know whether that's the same Blackstone you refer to), so I can't respond to whatever ratio you think I'm implying.
11.28.2007 10:50am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Re: the bank robber analogy.

Under the law in most US states, if any hostages die from police gunfire, the bank robbers will be prosecuted for murder. Those who created the situation in which innocents die are responsible for the deaths.
11.28.2007 11:39am
Yankev (mail):
Ralph, you are correct, and now that I recall, the same is true even if an accomplice in the bank robbery is killed by the police.

Sometimes the choice is between a bad choice and a worse choice. Letting the murderer continue murdering is often the worse choice, and positing someone else's kids as the hostage does not aid the analysis.
11.28.2007 11:56am
Oren:
Ralph, the legal culpability is not the point. When it's someone you care about, you will be first to urge the police not to endanger their lives.

Yankev: Blackstone's ratio is "better that 10 guilty men go free than a single innocent be punished". Dzerzhinskii, on the other hand, said that it is better than 10 innocent men get executed than a single guilty man live. Let's take the central route and put that ratio at 1:1 - "it is no better or worse that a guilty man go free than an innocent be punished" (Oren's ratio, if you would).

Let's go back to the Hezbollah rocket example because it is rather instructive. They fired ~4000 rockets and killed 40 Israeli civilians (wikipedia) which makes for a nice round fatality rate of 1%. Now, if I were a helicopter pilot observing a Hezbollah fighter setting up a single rocket in a house with a single civilian, I can attack, which will certainly kill the fighter and possibly the civilian OR i can not attack and the missile might kill a civilian when it lands. If the odds of collateral damage are p_c then the expected values are

Shoot = 1 Dead Guilty + p
11.28.2007 12:00pm
Oren:
^^ Append

Shoot = 1 Dead Guilty + (p_c) * 1 Dead Innocent
Not Shoot = 1 Free Guilty + (.01) * 1 Dead Innocent

Apply "Oren's Ratio" to equate the disutility of a free guilty versus a dead innocent, it's clear that I should only attack the house if I am 99% sure that I will not harm the civilian inside. Of course, if there is a family of 7 in there, I need to be quite a bit more sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in league with the crazy Israel haters ITT. Israel has every RIGHT to defend herself, it is only that she seems quite often to use that right unwisely and counterproductively. Moreover, I acknowledge that Hamas and Hezbollah want to destroy Israel, I just don't see that as a realistic possibility worthy of consideration. They simply do not have the capacity to do what the envision and, quite frankly, never will.
11.28.2007 12:09pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Ralph, the legal culpability is not the point.
The principle on which it rests is an important point.

When there's a situation in which innocents are put at risk, the people who're stuck making the tough decisions about how to deal with it are not the bad guys, even if you might disagree with them about which was the least awful option for dealing with it.

Those who created the situation, be they hostage-taking bank robbers or terrorists launching rockets from an apartment building, are the bad guys, and are ultimately responsible for any deaths that occur.
11.28.2007 12:24pm
Yankev (mail):
Oren, thank you for the reference to Blackstone. I remember the quotation, it just did not occur to me in this context.
It is simply not relevant to issues of warfare or for that matter defending against the public enemy, ie. armed violent criminals in the act of taking or at least threatening innocent life.

Blackstone was talking about punishment after the fact,imposed by a court with due process of law. Calling it a ratio seems odd; the number 10 appears to be a literary device; surely no one proposes that if 11 or 12 or 50 guilty men would go free, it would be better to convict an innocent man. Blackstone simply pointed out the bias of Anglo(now Anglo-American) law of affording rights to the accused in order to prevent wrongful conviction, even if the guilty often profited by the same thing.

That he was not talking about self-defense or warfare should be obvious, and that defense against a present threat is very different from punishment for past actions is equally obvious.

Ralph's point about the responsibility of those who created the situation is exactly on point, and comparisons to criminal law are a distraction at best.
11.28.2007 12:50pm
Oren:

Those who created the situation, be they hostage-taking bank robbers or terrorists launching rockets from an apartment building, are the bad guys, and are ultimately responsible for any deaths that occur.


They are absolutely responsible (not to mention reprehensible) but someone else's guilt is not a guide to your actions. One need to assign the police fault if, a civilian is shot in the course of assaulting a bank in order to assert that all things considered, it would be preferable that the civilians live even if it means allowed the robber to escape.

As far as the applicability here, what's obvious (at least to me) is that a conflict between Israel (a state) and non-state actors cannot possibly be war in any meaningful sense. At any rate, it suits me not to dignify Hezbollah with the legitimacy of such a word anyways. To me, they will always be criminal thugs at best -- by dignifying their self-described 'struggle' we only play into their hands.

Finally, as I tried to point out before, in any case where the existence of the State of Israel is in any way in doubt there is a different dynamic. When out enemies are so desperate for any tactical move that they fire useless missiles in the thousands and strap bombs onto their chests and walk into crowds it's fair to say that we've already won any real conflict.
11.28.2007 4:48pm
Oren:

It is simply not relevant to issues of warfare or for that matter defending against the public enemy, ie. armed violent criminals in the act of taking or at least threatening innocent life.


Being in the "act" of taking life is quite different from pretending to do so or firing tactically useless missiles.
11.28.2007 4:50pm
Yankev (mail):

Being in the "act" of taking life is quite different from pretending to do so or firing tactically useless missiles.


People have been killed or crippled by those "tactically useless missiles." A butcher knife is tactically useless, too, but if you charge at me or my family while brandishing one and shouting threats, don't expect me to wait to see how serious you are. And I am not aware of any instances of the IDF killing someone who was merely playing make believe.

A few points to interest from INN:

For months, the IDF has been forced to comply with the government policy of limiting its retaliation to strikes against terrorists in the act of firing rockets, and immediately before or after launching them. Attacks on terrorists in the act of firing at Israeli civilians were called off if they appeared to entail a danger of hurting non-combatants. This policy caused great frustration among the victims of the Gaza terrorists, many of whom felt that the government prefers the enemies' lives over their own.




The counter at the Committee for Secure Sderot website currently shows 6,288 rocket attacks from Gaza in the past six years.

The missiles have killed and crippled some. Maybe Israel should wait until they kill and cripple more.

One further point:

When out enemies are so desperate for any tactical move that they fire useless missiles in the thousands and strap bombs onto their chests and walk into crowds it's fair to say that we've already won any real conflict.
This is the old David/Goliath fallacy, that it is unnecessary and therefore immoral for the stronger party to defend itself against the weaker. I guess the people on United 93 were morally wrong to fight the hijackers, because after all, what could a few hijacked planes do against the mighty US, and besides the passengers outnumbered the hijackers. Despite your wishes for me, I sincerely hope that none of your loved ones are ever in the proximity of a so-called useless missile or a murderous thug with a bomb strapped to his -- or her -- chest. Allowing such people to operate with impunity by letting them use human shields (often willing and knowing human shields, at that) is nothing short of obscene and immoral.
11.28.2007 7:57pm
Oren:
I'm not sure my use of the phrase 'tactically uesless' accurately conveyed my meaning. What I meant was that these missiles are not, either themselves or as part of a larger scheme, an existential threat to the existence of the State of Israel. They kill and cripple but they do not topple states.

Similarly, 9-11 was mere pinprick which, as you said sarcastically but I say sincerely, could not and has not done anything to the 'mighty US'. That is not to minimize the loss of any of those that died but we cannot, in truth, say that this was a major injury to the country as a whole (psychological hysteria notwithstanding, of course).

The 400 or so that die per year of terrorism are trivial compared to the 40000+ that die in car accidents, for instance. Do we diminish the loss of those that die in car accidents because we aren't constantly and rabidly out to increase car safety? Do we need to hear about those 40,000 that die at every opportunity? It's irrational at best.

Similarly in Israel, the 100 or so that die per year from terrorist attack (incidentally, those 6000 rockets netted less than 100 fatalities) is dwarfed by Israelis that die at each other's hands. They are not as effective at kill us as we are at killing each other.


I am not aware of any instances of the IDF killing someone who was merely playing make believe.


All of Hezbollah and Hamas is make-believe.


This is the old David/Goliath fallacy, that it is unnecessary and therefore immoral for the stronger party to defend itself against the weaker.


If there is ever to be a solution, it must come form the stronger party. By virtue of her strength, she is the one that is in a position to effect a change.


I sincerely hope that none of your loved ones are ever in the proximity of a so-called useless missile or a murderous thug with a bomb strapped to his -- or her -- chest.


Firstly, I have a considerable family presence in Kiryat Shmone, so your hope is largely irrelevant. All of them have served in the IDF and they are all quite sure that the kind of jingoistic bluster (usually spouted by American Jews that have never seen combat) will never lead to a comprehensive peace. For them, the question is not about whether and when they will die, having been in the army they are quite aware that we do not chose our fates, but rather whether, while they are alive, they are doing everything possible to create the kind of world they would like to bequeath on their children and grand-children.

Finally, I'm going to be extra-rude and quote myself because the main thrust of my 4:48 post went completely unanswered:


One need not assign the police fault if a civilian is shot in the course of assaulting a bank in order to assert that all things considered, it would be preferable that the civilians live even if it means allowed the robber to escape.


Most importantly, it's not about being right, it's about doing right.
11.28.2007 8:25pm