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More on Public Opinion on Israel/Gaza:

Via Rosner's Domain, the Powerpoint presentation from respected pollsters Greenberg and Newhouse linked on this page has to be pretty sobering for the Juan Coles and Glen Greenwalds who think American public opinion is on their (anti- very hostile to Israel's policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians) side. For example, five times as many people blame only Palestinian leaders for the violence in Gaza as blame only Israeli leaders (55-11); almost ten times as many people (48-5) think only Israeli leaders want peace and are working towards it as think the same of Palestinian leaders; almost seven times as many people think only Israel has moral leaders who work to limit civilian casualties as think the same about the Palestinians (47-7); and, perhaps most tellingly, despite the images of Israeli bombs exploding in Gaza for the last two weeks, almost four times as many people blame the humanitarian crisis in Gaza on Hamas as blame Israel (66-17).

I'm not confusing public opinion with wisdom, though even stopped clocks are right twice a day. Rather, the incessant complaints from certain ideological outliers that American public opinion really agrees with them on Israel, but the "Israel lobby" prevents the politicians from doing anything about it, aren't consistent with reality the polling data.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on Public Opinion on Israel/Gaza:
  2. Juan Cole, The People's Oracle?:
Dan Weber (www):
Couldn't they just say that the sooper Joo Lobby is distorting public opinion?
1.15.2009 9:56pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
For heaven's sake, Prof. Bernstein, "anti-Israel"? I'm agnostic regarding the morality and wisdom of the Israeli operation in Gaza, but opposing it does not make one "anti-Israel," any more than opposing the Iraq War made one "anti-American." I am increasingly disgusted by the childishness you display on the subject of Israel.
1.15.2009 10:05pm
davidbernstein (mail):
I didn't say that anyone who opposes the wisdom or even morality of the war in Gaza is anti-Israel. I said that some individuals, like Juan Cole and Glen Greenwald, take anti-Israel positions, and then claim that the public agrees with them.

If you know enough about Cole and Greenwald to dispute my characterization of their views, please feel free. If not, it is you who are displaying either childishness in lashing out against arguments you don't like but can't dispute, or poor reading comprehension in misreading the argument to begin with.
1.15.2009 10:09pm
davidbernstein (mail):
And btw, if you actually bother to click on the link before commenting, you'll see that many Democrats are generally pro-Israel but opposed to the Gaza operation, likely on the general principle that they oppose just about any military action not initiated by Bill Clinton (Haiti, Serbia, etc).
1.15.2009 10:20pm
DangerMouse:
What baffles me is that anyone could be sympathetic to the Palestinians, who overwhelmingly support suicide bombing, elected Hamas overwhelmingly, and celebrated the 9/11 attacks. The Palestinians are perhaps the only people on the planet that everyone should unreservedly condemn.
1.15.2009 10:21pm
Garth:
and then there's this. not a poll of 800 people from what appears to be a pro-israel group.

january 10th from the UK Guardian.


Throughout the two-week bombardment of the Gaza Strip most journalists have been kept out by the Israeli government on the pretext of security. And the Israelis are pleased with the results.

Foreign journalists have been forced to report without getting to the detail of what is going on. That meant, at least in the early days of the bombardment, that reporters who would have been in Gaza were instead reporting from Israeli towns and cities under fire from Hamas, and Israeli officials found it easier to get themselves in front of a television camera.

An Israeli official told me they were delighted at a BBC TV correspondent broadcasting from Ashkelon in a flak jacket, reinforcing the impression that the Israeli city is a war zone when there is more chance of being hit by a car than a rocket. The notable exception is al-Jazeera TV, which has a bureau in Gaza City and has been broadcasting live from there.

Danny Seaman, head of the Israeli government's press office, who has described foreign journalists as a "figleaf" for Hamas, says the exclusion of reporters from Gaza has worked in Israel's favour as it has forced a greater focus on Israel's side of the story.
1.15.2009 10:24pm
NTB24601:
I agree with Matt Tievsky. Not only is characterizing Glen Greenwald as "anti-Israel" erroneous, it also validates Greenwald's major complaint. I regularly read his opinions, and I can't think of anything he's written on this subject in which he doesn't go out of his way to state that he condemns Hamas' violence. He also, however, presents the counter-view. His major complaint, which he repeatedly expresses, is that anyone in the United States who takes a balanced view is immediately condemned as "anti-Israel" just as Professor Bernstein does here.

I also think that Professor Bernstein mischaracterizes Greenwald's statistical argument. I don't believe that he argues that a majority of U.S. voters are "anti-Israel." I believe that, instead, he argues that a significant portion of the population wants the United States to take a neutral position in brokering a peace deal.
1.15.2009 10:33pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Yeah, only Greenberg and Newhouse, two of the most reputable pollsters in the country.
1.15.2009 10:35pm
cognitis:
The writer's vengeful passion evidently excludes coherent exposition: last sentence contains either an errant relative clause or a subordinating conjunction without a main clause, "doesn't" is incorrectly declined, also "consist" is clearer than the rare "comport".
1.15.2009 10:38pm
cognitis:
The writer is right not to confuse public opinion with wisdom, but only a fool would confuse a public opinion poll with public opinion.
1.15.2009 10:43pm
winstontwo (mail):
Greenwald's central argument is that when anyone attempts to examine whether it is in the best interests of the United States to become so intimately involved in Israel's disputed with its neighbors, one is immediately branded an anti-Semite or anti-Israel.

Mr. Bernstein's post supplies further evidence supporting Mr. Greenwald's argument.
1.15.2009 10:46pm
davidbernstein (mail):
(1) Greenwald enthusiastically endorsed the following statement by Juan Cole: "So, US Israel policy is driven by . . . the Israeli rightwing. That is why Congress voted 309 to five to support Israel's war on the people of Gaza, with 22 abstaining."



(2) Greenwald has been challenged several times, given his emphasis on the alleged "disproportionality" of Israel's actions in Gaza, to describe what actions would be proportionate. He has no answer, beyond that Israel should foreswear any military action.



(3) It's one thing to want the U.S. to be "even-handed" between Israel and the Palestinians, in general. But why would anyone who is even neutral on Israel want anyone, the U.S. included, to be neutral between Israel and Hamas?



(4)
"I regularly read his opinions, and I can't think of anything he's written on this subject in which he doesn't go out of his way to state that he condemns Hamas' violence."
You obviously haven't read his last couple of posts.



(5) If Greenwald's true point is not to condemn Israel, but simply to say the U.S. should stay out of it, why does he spend so much energy condemning Israel? The argument that the U.S. should stay out of it doesn't seem to me to be at all dependent on whether one approves or disapproves of Israel's latest particular action.


1.15.2009 10:50pm
NTB24601:
davidbernstein:

And btw, if you actually bother to click on the link before commenting, you'll see that many Democrats are generally pro-Israel but opposed to the Gaza operation, likely on the general principle that they oppose just about any military action not initiated by Bill Clinton (Haiti, Serbia, etc).

Where is that conclusion in the poll linked above? I've looked and can't find it. [Editor: You're right; it's in the Rosner link, which was bad, but is now fixed]

Regardless, I don't doubt its true that many Democrats are generally pro-Israel but opposed to the Gaza operation. I would dispute the general principle you offer to explain it though. I would posit that many pro-Israel Democrats may believe that, in the long run, the Gaza operation is more likely to strengthen Hamas than weaken it. Pro-Israel Democrats may also believe that Israel can best secure its future, in the long run, by easing the restrictions it has imposed on the Gaza in hopes that a more prosperous population will be less likely to support organizations like Hamas.
1.15.2009 10:55pm
hawkins:
I believe many people who have been critical of past Israeli military operations are more understanding of the current situation.
1.15.2009 10:55pm
davidbernstein (mail):
"that a more prosperous population will be less likely to support organizations like Hamas"

It would be good if that were true. Someone could just send $2,000 checks to every resident of Gaza, a mere 2 billion dollars or so, and Hamas's reign would be over. It's too bad that there is no reason to believe that people support Hamas because of financial circumstance. Quite the opposite: in the West Bank, people turned against the terrorists, at least as a practical matter, when their economy was ruined by the 2nd intifada.

Palestinians do support Hamas because the alternative Fatah was so corrupt and incompetent, but then Hamas is now proving itself to be even more incompetent in starting a war it can't win. Unfortunately, the alternative remains the still corrupt and incompetent Fatah.
1.15.2009 11:06pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
To avoid further side argument about what makes someone "anti-Israel," I modified the original post.
1.15.2009 11:16pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):

I'm agnostic regarding the morality and wisdom of the Israeli operation in Gaza

Why would anyone be "agnostic" regarding the morality of the two sides in this conflict? On the one hand you have a regime and a people who have fired thousands of missiles at population centers in Israel. The Israelis live in constant fear of being killed so they and their children live within minutes of bomb shelters which get regular use.

Palestinians show whose side they are on when they cheered the destruction of 9/11.

So the Israelis respond and due to their technological superiority suffer fewer casualties than their enemies. Meanwhile Hamas uses a strategy of deliberately creating civilian casualties, sacrificing their women and children to score propaganda points. To Hamas, the more dead bodies the better.

There may be a name for this agnosticism: the Pontius Pilate Syndrome?

And for those of you criticizing Bernstein for writing on this subject … get your own blog.
1.15.2009 11:36pm
hawkins:

Palestinians show whose side they are on when they cheered the destruction of 9/11.


The ones I saw celebrating were actually representing every Palestinian?
1.15.2009 11:40pm
NTB24601:
DavidBernstein:

....Hamas is now proving itself to be even more incompetent in starting a war it can't win.

That's a pretty central point of contention for those of us who question the wisdom of Israel's action. I fear this as a war that Hamas can't lose. The articles that I've read about the situation lead me to believe that as long as Hamas remains defiant, it will gain popular support among the Palestinians. I don't think that even Israel believes that a military action can completely stop the rockets. Israeli may declare that it's achieved its objectives if it significantly reduces the rocket attacks, but I think the Palestinians will see Hamas as the victor if any rocket attacks continue.
1.15.2009 11:55pm
cognitis:
"very hostile"? "hostility" has grades? "very hostile" reminds me of the exchange between Cruise character and Nicholson character in "A Few Good Men":

Cruise: "Would you say he was in grave danger?"
Nicholson: "Is there any other kind?"
1.15.2009 11:55pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I think that Cole and Greenwald are asking the wrong question. Historically, if anyone is going to intefere with military aid to Israel it is going to be the President (for example, both Presidents named "Bush" did so), not Congress, and not with the people behind them. Republicans are also more likely to do so than Democrats.

However, the fact is that even when this happens, it is small potatoes, since the President is usually only able to do things like put procedural roadblocks in place, slowing down the delivery rather than blocking it outright. The US has been sufficiently loyal to Israel's unbalanced military excursions that there is no reason to think that there is widespread one-sided condemnation of the state from here.

This being said, the US is not the power to watch. Israel is as dependent on EU trade as it is on US aid. A drop in support in the EU could be quite devastating. Anyone remember the economic tailspin from the unorganized boycott that was the reaction to Operation Defensive Shield?
1.15.2009 11:58pm
wohjr (mail):
Hamas incompetent by starting this war? Is not their position strengthened by this latest folly? And who started what exactly in this part of the world? Do the Palestinians not have some legitimate grievances here?
1.16.2009 12:03am
Moneyrunner43 (www):

The ones I saw celebrating were actually representing every Palestinian?

Golly, I'm sorry that I missed the outpouring of Palistinian grief. I'm sure you can find a link though.
1.16.2009 12:04am
Moneyrunner43 (www):

Israel's unbalanced military excursions ...

Where have I heard that phrase before?
1.16.2009 12:07am
Moneyrunner43 (www):

Hamas incompetent by starting this war? Is not their position strengthened by this latest folly?

At the rate they keep losing leaders pretty soon they'll be invincible.
1.16.2009 12:11am
Moneyrunner43 (www):

The articles that I've read about the situation lead me to believe that as long as Hamas remains defiant, it will gain popular support among the Palestinians.

I always thought that Hamas had the total support of the Palestinians. Could they be moving from 100% support to 200% support?

I'm reminded of the politician … was it McGovern (?) who raised his support for Tom Eagleton to 1000% just before he dropped him.
1.16.2009 12:17am
nit (pick me):
"very hostile"? "hostility" has grades?

Yes. Haven't you heard of the expression "degree of hostility"? If there are degrees of hostility, surely one can be slightly hostile, or very hostile, or even extremely hostile. Similarly, there are different levels of danger. There are most and least dangerous jobs, for example. Cognitis, do stop being an incompetent pedant.
1.16.2009 12:21am
wohjr (mail):
Feh to Israel killing "leaders". Others will step up. How many Taliban or Al-Q "commanders" have we killed in tribal Pak? Individual asassinations matter not when others stand ready to step up.... This is a larger issue than getting to Said Siam.
1.16.2009 12:22am
bh45:
Prof Bernstein,

You're arguing against a strawman. Here's an example of Greenwald's actual argument, easily found from a post on Wednesday:


On a different note, another new poll -- this one from Pew -- shows Americans, and especially Democrats, deeply divided on what U.S. policy towards Israel should be in this case. While a plurality of Americans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians and blame Hamas more than Israel for the outbreak of violence, Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove of the Israeli action in Gaza (29-45%), and a majority of Democrats believe either (a) "the U.S. should say or do nothing" (40%) or (b) "the U.S. should criticize Israel" (12%). Only 34% of Democrats believe that the U.S. "should publicly support Israel" (34%). Despite that, their representatives in Congress voted almost unanimously to adopt a one-sided Resolution publicly declaring America's support for Israel's attack on Gaza.


Greenwald doesn't seem to think that US politicians should be taking an anti (or "very hostile") view towards Israel. Just that a sizable portion of citizens are against issuing a full throated, unequivocal defense of Israel's actions.

Also, where has the public been seeing "images of Israeli bombs exploding in Gaza for the last two weeks," given that the western press has been illegally (under Israeli law) barred from entering Gaza? This is an honest question. I've been following the news somewhat casually, and I haven't seen any such images-- only a few scattered second hand accounts.
1.16.2009 12:28am
bh45:
BTW, I can't think of any other issue where one party's members could be polled as being 45-29 against some action, and yet have their representatives almost uniformly support it. Jail sentences for marijuana possession, maybe?
1.16.2009 12:32am
Michael B (mail):
"... pretty sobering for the Juan Coles and Glen Greenwalds who think imaginatively argue American public opinion is on their (anti- very hostile to Israel's policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians) side."

It isn't thought they're applying, properly or responsibly understood, it's a highly imaginative sensibility, likely pathological, together with obdurate levels of self-regard. To the extent they apply thought, it's used in a guile-laden, casuistic manner, with predetermined ends in mind. To indulge some understatement, winsome is a term that does not apply.
1.16.2009 12:36am
cognitis:
nit pick-a-fight as host:

I'd never heard "degree of hostility", but hostile means "like a host (enemy)"; one is either an enemy or not; writer's description of public opinion changes not at all whether opinion be described as "hostile" or "very hostile". That "hostility" has no degrees is shown in part by American's lack of a "hostiler" or "hostilest"; compare "hostile" with "strong" (stronger, strongest). Even in cases where American lacks single words denoting grades such as "ferocious", the Latin "ferox" can be shown in grades with "ferocior" and "ferocissimus"; Latin lacks similar such words for "hostilis" (that is, no hostilior or hostilissimus).

So use a more humble tone (humilior); also, shut up and take note a certiorari.
1.16.2009 12:57am
cognitis:
nit pick-a-fight as host:

I'd never heard "degree of hostility", but hostile means "like a host (enemy)"; one is either an enemy or not; writer's description of public opinion changes not at all whether opinion be described as "hostile" or "very hostile". That "hostility" has no degrees is shown in part by American's lack of a "hostiler" or "hostilest"; compare "hostile" with "strong" (stronger, strongest). Even in cases where American lacks single words denoting grades such as "ferocious", the Latin "ferox" can be shown in grades with "ferocior" and "ferocissimus"; Latin lacks similar such words for "hostilis" (that is, no hostilior or hostilissimus).

So use a more humble tone (humilior); also, shut up and take note a certiori.
1.16.2009 1:08am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Moneyrunner43:

Less than 50% of Gazans voted for Hamas. There is also some evidence that this is strengthening Hamas's hand in the West Bank. For example, Abbas has gone from fully blaming Hamas to blaming both sides for refusing a ceasefire to blaming Israel. He has also been forced by political pressure to release Hamas prisoners from jail. So yes, Hamas seems to be strengthened in the West Bank by the actions in Gaza. Invading Gaza to wipe out Hamas is like invading Salt Lake City to wipe out the GOP.... Except that the GOP is more popular in Salt Lake than Hamas is in Gaza.....
1.16.2009 1:09am
Brian K (mail):
I'd never heard "degree of hostility"

really? never? an example:

mildly hostile: guy crossing his arms and saying in a tough sounding voice "excuse me sir, but what're you doing on this street corner?"

moderately hostile: guys rests his hand on a gun and says "what the f*ck are you doing on this street corner?"

extremely hostile: guy unloads 40 rounds from his machine gun while screaming "get the f*ck off of my street corner!"

...but i guess when you're an ideologue all 3 of the above scenarios are exactly the same.
1.16.2009 1:21am
nit (pick me):
Hostile: "1 a: of or relating to an enemy [hostile fire] b: marked by malevolence [a hostile act] c: openly opposed or resisting [a hostile critic] [hostile to new ideas] d (1): not hospitable [plants growing in a hostile environment] (2): having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature [a hostile workplace]."

One can be more or less intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive. More or less hospitable. More or less opposed or resistant to an idea, and act more or less malevolently. "Of or relating to an enemy" is not the only meaning of "hostile."

There is herefore no one "grade" of hostility. There are different degrees of hostility. Just as there are different degrees of offensiveness. One can range from being slightly offended to being very offended, since offensiveness, like hostility, can be a matter of degree.

Just as there is no "hospitabler" or "hospitablest"; "resistanter" or "resistantest"; one can still be more or less hospitable, and resistance can (of course) be a matter of degree. Likewise, there is no "offendinger" or "offendingest," but that doesn't mean that the level of offense can't be graded. Latin is simply irrelevant. We're talking about English, not Latin. The fact that a word has Latinate roots and no "grades" in Latin has no relevance to how it is used in English, which admits degrees in its usage.

Unless you're claiming that one cannot be "slightly offended" or "very intimidated" of course. Which is dumb and absurd.

There's nothing more funny than an incompetent nitpicker who is obviously wrong but who cannot admit that he has been caught out. I know it pains you to admit it, but you're looking very absurd. GTFO already and stop wasting everyone's time with your pedantry. :)
1.16.2009 1:48am
cognitis:
Brian:

Before insulting another postor, read his post carefully; should you not comprehend the post, just shut up. Since you don't cogitate in principles but only recognize examples, try this: how differs "moderately hostile" from "moderately menacing"? Again, one is a host (enemy) or not; one can, however, be more menacing or most menacing just as Latin shows grades minax, minacior, minacissimus. Don't use words like "ideologue" that you clearly don't comprehend.
1.16.2009 2:05am
cognitis:
nit pick your brain:

Look, you and this "Brian" can't dispute civilly, so I'll let the ignorant go on being ignorant. Choose your examples more carefully: "resistant" isn't derived from a latin adjective but rather a latin present participle resistante, so different rules govern that word; also, latin has grades of "offensive": offensus, offensior. You clearly know very little about language and can't learn, so why would I consume my time? I'll respond only to other postors in the future.
1.16.2009 2:23am
eyesay:
Google search results:
about 136,000 for "level of hostility"
about 75,900 for "levels of hostility"
about 48,200 for "degree of hostility"
about 14,200 for "degrees of hostility"
about 352,000 for "more hostile"
about 157,000 for "less hostile"
about 245,000 for "most hostile"
about 8,090 for "least hostile"
about 234,000 for "very hostile"
about 96,100 for "extremely hostile"
about 2,180 for "extraordinarily hostile"
about 4,110 for "unusually hostile"
about 7,890 for "slightly hostile"
about 21,600 for "a bit hostile"
about 48,900 for "quite hostile"
about 49,900 for "too hostile"
about 378 for "not hostile enough"
about 163 for "just hostile enough"
about 4,620 for "sufficiently hostile"
about 334 for "insufficiently hostile"
1.16.2009 2:41am
PlugInMonster:
Results 1 - 10 of about 6,010,000 for israeli aggression
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,260,000 for hamas aggression

So about 5:1 biased against Israel on Google.
1.16.2009 2:53am
fortyninerdweet (mail):
cognitis conveniently omits mentioning that though the root meaning of "host" in 1250 ad included "enemy" as a definition, current use is more closely akin to "army". To-wit, being hostile means "acting like an army". That fact, though, is probably only significant to a pedantic troll seeking to subvert another's devastating thread, in my opinion. But it might just be me.
1.16.2009 2:54am
PlugInMonster:
Another Google search:

18,300,000 for israeli war crimes
600,000 for hamas atrocities
1.16.2009 2:54am
nit (pick me):
Choose your examples more carefully

Those are not my "examples" but the dictionary's definition of "hostile." If hostile can mean any of these things -- which you NOW admit have degrees of gradation -- it follows that "hostile" too has degrees of gradation, seeing as it is defined to mean any of these things (i.e., being resistant, inhospitable, offensive, or antagonistic).

You've trapped yourself. Just give up. You're poor at both and language logic. :)
1.16.2009 4:07am
nit (pick me):
(language and logic)
1.16.2009 4:08am
LN (mail):
Some more Google searches

"Israeli Arab" 17,900,000 hits
"Hamas Arab" 8.400,000 hits

"Israeli Muslim" 7,700,000 hits
"Hamas Muslim" 5,980,000 hits

"Israeli good" 16,800,000 hits
"Hamas good" 9,360,000 hits

"Israeli terrorism" 11,400,000 hits
"Hamas terrorism" 6,160,000 hits

"Israeli Allah" 15,100,000 hits
"Hamas Allah" 1,650,000 hits

How informative.
1.16.2009 4:49am
neurodoc:
hawins: "Palestinians show whose side they are on when they cheered the destruction of 9/11." The ones I saw celebrating were actually representing every Palestinian?
So unless "every Palestinian" celebrated 9/11, you think it of no consequence that a great many among them did, while you would be hard pressed to find Israeli Jews who did?
1.16.2009 4:50am
PlugInMonster:
94% of Israeli Jews support Gaza operation:



So to libs - does this mean 94% of Israeli Jews should be tried by the Hague for war crimes?
1.16.2009 5:37am
LM (mail):
Google has spoken.
1.16.2009 6:41am
Sam H (mail):
wohjr said "Do the Palestinians not have some legitimate grievances here?"

No.
1.16.2009 7:03am
bikeguy (mail):

The writer is right not to confuse public opinion with wisdom, but only a fool would confuse a public opinion poll with public opinion.

Only a bigger fool ignores them.
1.16.2009 7:08am
Yankev (mail):

The fact that a word has Latinate roots and no "grades" in Latin has no relevance to how it is used in English, which admits degrees in its usage.
You mean that Latin and English don't follow the same rules? But that would mean we can freely split our infinitives! If we allow that, what levels would civilization fall to? (Oops, better make that "to what levels would civilization fall to?
1.16.2009 9:26am
SparkyZ (mail):
RE: LM Some more Google searches...

I am not sure whether your search strategy is informative. For example, your "Israeli Allah" search was obviously not searching for the phrase but rather for the presence of the two words on a page. You inclusion of quotes is misleading. When in quotes, the number is 95 while the phrase "hamas allah" yields 2850. Your other examples are similarly flawed: ("Israeli terrorism" = 73700, "Hamas terrorism" = 25900). The searches lacking quotes (as well as the ones with quotes) have no meaning at all. For example: "The terrorist blew up the Israeli pizza hut while shouting Allah" compared to "The Israeli Institute presented a lecture on the words of Allah". One could reverse the positive/negative connotations and still come to the same conclusion that anything taken out of context makes it devoid of meaning.

Is there a point?
1.16.2009 9:50am
wohjr (mail):
Sam-

Really? Those poor Gazans of a certain age are old enough to remember a quite different state of affairs in that particular part of the world. How would you feel in that situation? That you should just suck it up?
1.16.2009 10:41am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Those poor Gazans of a certain age are old enough to remember a quite different state of affairs in that particular part of the world.


I'm sure they long for the times whey could kill Jews without Jews shooting back.
1.16.2009 11:16am
wohjr (mail):
Bob-

Ah the eternal victim card... how can we ever make progress when many are instead focused on settling past scores? What kind of world do you want to live in in the future. Wait... don't answer that
1.16.2009 11:20am
LN (mail):

Is there a point?


Yeah, the point was that there is no point. I wasn't the first person to start counting Google hits in the thread.
1.16.2009 11:21am
Brian K (mail):
Look, you and this "Brian" can't dispute civilly

HAHA...given the content of some of your posts it appears you need to look in a mirror more often.
1.16.2009 11:21am
Dan Weber (www):
and a majority of Democrats believe either (a) "the U.S. should say or do nothing" (40%) or (b) "the U.S. should criticize Israel" (12%). Only 34% of Democrats believe that the U.S. "should publicly support Israel" (34%).

That's a pretty interesting way to twist statistics. "A majority of that group either has no opinion or agrees with me!"
1.16.2009 12:31pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev: Some interesting thoughts on the English language.

English is a Germanic language but the word structure is very atypical of Germanic languages. For example, in English we don't freely compound two-stem words like one can in Old Norse, Old English, Old High German, etc. (New High German has allowed multi-stem compounding which is a trend to the other direction.)

All Germanic languages have shown a tendency to drop inflected case endings but English is far more this way than any other living Germanic language. Similarly, English has dropped inflections for many tenses too (for example, the infinitive is inflected in Old English, all Romance languages, and most other Indo-European languages).

Interestingly, the clean break in all these patterns was the Norman invasion and the development of Middle English. Now, Linguists tell us that these tendencies (away from synthesis, inflected endings, etc) are typical of creole languages. One of the things that makes Middle English and hence Modern English somewhat unique is the fact that it is the only Germanic creole language I can think of which has a history of nearly a thousand years.
1.16.2009 12:49pm
LM (mail):
Sparky,

As you may have gathered by now, LN and I are not the same person. I'm his evil twin.
1.16.2009 1:17pm
Cenrand:
Wohjr -

There is a difference between "settling past scores" and trying to prevent history from repeating.
1.16.2009 1:35pm
Yankev (mail):

(for example, the infinitive is inflected in Old English, all Romance languages, and most other Indo-European languages).
You have already gone way way beyond my linguistic competence. By me "inflected" means whether your voice goes up or down at the end of a sentence. Or as Leo Rosten pointed out, the following sentence has at least 7 distinct meanings, depending on which word you emphasize: "I should buy two tickets to his son's recital."
1.16.2009 1:53pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
and a majority of Democrats believe either (a) "the U.S. should say or do nothing" (40%) or (b) "the U.S. should criticize Israel" (12%). Only 34% of Democrats believe that the U.S. "should publicly support Israel" (34%).

That's a pretty interesting way to twist statistics. "A majority of that group either has no opinion or agrees with me!"
How about, "of the Democrats who think the U.S. should take a position, 3x as many say the U.S. should publicly support Israel as say the U.S. should criticize Israel"? Sounds a little less shocking that the Democrats voted for the resolution when you put it that way, esp. if you figure that the people who think the U.S. should take a position are likely those with the strongest opinions/interest.
1.16.2009 2:16pm
LHD (mail):
Yankev: "Inflection" has that meaning, but it also means to change the form of a word to express some grammatical attribute. Take the Latin verb "amare," meaning "to love." "Amo" means "I love," and "amas" means "you love." "Ama-" is the stem. Changing the suffix, "-o" to "-s," changes the person, from 1st to 2nd. That is inflection.

Look, I studied Latin in college. I have a deep and abiding love of the language. Cognitis' attempt to discover the meaning, or function, of English words derived from Latin by looking to how the Latin language worked, is about as ridiculous as you can get. It doesn't even deserve to be treated seriously. Else, why stop at Latin? We would clearly need to reach back into Proto-Indo-European to figure out how English works.
1.16.2009 2:20pm
SecurityGeek:
These polls, if accurate, don't mean what DB thinks they mean.

I don't agree with most of Israel's decisions, but any sane person would say yes to questions that blame Hamas as well as the Israelis for the bloodshed, and a minority of people will respond that Israel can do no wrong.

The problem for Israel's supporters over the next several years is that Israel will once again be held to a higher standard than it's terrorist enemies. It would be interesting to see a poll fairly outlining the facts of US financial and military support of Israel and then asking many US citizens were more or less supportive of sending that money overseas due to this war. Our friends that we subsidize to the order of $2K per capita will and should be held a little more accountable than the folks we call terrorists and economically shun.

I think the other problem for Israel is that situations like this make people look at the outcomes more than the process. Despite it's vaunted democracy, respect for human rights, advanced military and "good intentions", Israel always ends up killing way more women and children than the Palestinians. No matter who people blame for "starting it", the end result does matter and it's going to start to grate on Americans to keep hearing the terms "the technologically sophisticated IDF" and "accidentally blew the crap out of a elementary school" in the same sentence. Some of the Israel can't do wrong people should think about that.
1.16.2009 2:50pm
Yankev (mail):

Inflection" has that meaning, but it also means to change the form of a word to express some grammatical attribute.
LHD, thank you for the explanation and the examples. How does this differ from conjugating a verb or declining a noun? Are these subsets of inflection, or does inflection refer to other grammatical attributes (e.g. I am told that Yiddish articles are inflected for gender and number, as you did with the verb amare) or to parts of speech other than verbs and nouns (apparently not, given that your example was a verb). Does it refer solely to number and gender, regardless of the part of speech?

Take the Latin verb "amare," meaning "to love." "Amo" means "I love," and "amas" means "you love." "Ama-" is the stem. Changing the suffix, "-o" to "-s," changes the person, from 1st to 2nd. That is inflection.
Okay, I remember doing that in Italian class, but I don't think the TA's ever used the term inflecting.


Cognitis' attempt to discover the meaning, or function, of English words derived from Latin by looking to how the Latin language worked, is about as ridiculous as you can get. It doesn't even deserve to be treated seriously.
I would have broadened that statement a bit so as to apply to other topics.

Else, why stop at Latin?
As I said . . . .
1.16.2009 3:32pm
Steve H:

How about, "of the Democrats who think the U.S. should take a position, 3x as many say the U.S. should publicly support Israel as say the U.S. should criticize Israel"?


Well, it's Clintonesque in its accuracy -- it depends on the meaning of "take a position" is. I think "refuse to publicly support either side" is a position.

Your "Of the Democrats who say the US should take a position ... " proposal leaves out critical information, i.e., how many want the US to stay the hell out of it. We don't know if 3 percent say "publicly support Israel" and 1 percent said "publicly criticize" Israel, with 96 percent saying "The US should STFU," or if public support is beating public critism 72-24.

How about "Most Democrats do not want the US to publicly support Israel"?
1.16.2009 3:36pm
Jimmy S.:
Did wojhr really post

Those poor Gazans of a certain age are old enough to remember a quite different state of affairs in that particular part of the world. How would you feel in that situation? That you should just suck it up?

and then sincerely ask

how can we ever make progress when many are instead focused on settling past scores?

Yes, apparently, wojhr did exactly that.
1.16.2009 5:12pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

LHD, thank you for the explanation and the examples. How does this differ from conjugating a verb or declining a noun? Are these subsets of inflection, or does inflection refer to other grammatical attributes (e.g. I am told that Yiddish articles are inflected for gender and number, as you did with the verb amare) or to parts of speech other than verbs and nouns (apparently not, given that your example was a verb). Does it refer solely to number and gender, regardless of the part of speech?


Often these are handled by inflections, unless additional words are used. For example the infinitive in English is not inflected but rather used as a prepositional object. Similarly, in some cases, verb phrases are used where inflections were used in Old English. The phrases then take the place of previous inflections.

Case, number, gender, mood, tense, etc. are all possibly inflected. For example, indicating possession in Modern English by adding 's to the end of a word or -ing of -ed onto the end of a verb in a verb phrase to differentiate between past participle and past perfect tenses.....

Another form of inflection is internal vowel modification: drink, drank, drunk, for example.
1.16.2009 6:16pm
wohjr (mail):
Jimmy-

Yep, I think there is a difference between being stuck in the past and acknowledging that there are legitimate grievances on Gazans part. Or do you not think they are aggrieved? How can we move forward without acknowledging there is some legitimate beef on the Palestinians part?
1.16.2009 6:41pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Our friends that we subsidize to the order of $2K per capita will and should be held a little more accountable than the folks we call terrorists and economically shun.
Israel has a population of more than 7 million, and total aid is about 2.7 billion. Israel would likely gladly give up that aid for the sort of security guarantees the U.S. gives, say, South Korea, which costs a heckuva lot more than 2.7 billion a year. Not that I'm a big fan of the aid, I just find it amusing that so many people get so worked up about relatively meager aid to Israel, but not the many, many more billions the U.S. spends stationing troops abroad and keeping them in harm's way, just because it's not called "foreign aid."
1.16.2009 7:18pm
Sam H (mail):
wohjr said "Really? Those poor Gazans of a certain age are old enough to remember a quite different state of affairs in that particular part of the world. How would you feel in that situation? That you should just suck it up?"

I am sure that many of them remember when they could work in Israel, shop in Israel, get treated by Israeli doctors and many other benefits. Why do you think that changed?

Why did Egypt close their border with Gaza?
1.16.2009 8:18pm
wohjr (mail):
David-

You got a cite for that? Stationing troops in S Korea, at current levels, costs more than 2+ billion per year?


Of course the SKors aren't exactly using all those US weapons or troops in an offensive capacity either...
1.16.2009 8:19pm
wohjr (mail):
Sam-

Why should this be Egypt's problem? Its like blaming Canada for not helping Native Americans.... Just because they have certain shared characteristics doesn't mean that they are one huge monolithic entity. Ditto those who say Jordan should absorb parts of the West Bank. Hashimites are different than Palestinians, as I'm sure they'd be happy to tell you...
1.16.2009 8:22pm
PlugInMonster:

wohjr (mail):
David-

You got a cite for that? Stationing troops in S Korea, at current levels, costs more than 2+ billion per year?


Of course the SKors aren't exactly using all those US weapons or troops in an offensive capacity either...
1.16.2009 8:19pm


Israel only fights defensive wars.
1.16.2009 8:30pm
wohjr (mail):
Monster-


I'll not quibble with you on that one, though I think there is some flex in that particular statement. Depends on one's point of view. I suppose it should have read...

"SKors aren't exactly using those troops or weapons AT ALL"
1.16.2009 8:47pm
davidbernstein (mail):
1.16.2009 8:48pm
Sam H (mail):
wohjr

Egypt had Gaza and Jordan had the West Bank until 1967. They certainly have more responsibility than Israel does. Hell, we pay Egypt 2 billion a year to keep the peace, they really should do something for that money.

No comment about why the Palestinians can't go to Israel like they could before? Or why Egypt and Jordan want nothing to do with them? Or why the Arab League pressured all its members to refuse citizenship to Palestinians?
1.16.2009 8:57pm
wohjr (mail):
Nice try David- that book was published in 1992. Anything more recent?
1.16.2009 9:21pm
wohjr (mail):
Sam-

Again- there are perfectly reasonable political considerations for the Egyptians and Jordanians to not want a lot of Palestinian refugees in their countries. The Egyptian reason has to do with their problems with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Jordanians are already in danger of being a minority in their own country as they have taken so many Palestinians already. Why would you view all these people as being part of one monolithic entity? Thats.. I dunno... painting people who look alike with a pretty broad brush wouldn't you say? There's another word I could use here... starts with an R, perhaps you can guess!

As for Palestinians "returning" to Israel? From whence they were forceably ejected? The same country that just outlawed Arab political parties in their "democracy"?
1.16.2009 9:26pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Have you heard of "inflation"? The 1992 figures are low, unless we've reduced our troops since then, but if we have, most of them are still there, so the figures are still a lot more than $2 billion. Or just do the math. 30K soldiers a year, plus dependents, plus infrastructure.
1.16.2009 10:36pm
TokyoTom (mail):
I find it both telling and pathetic that rather than discussing the pros and cons of Israeli government actions, David Bernstein prefers to focus on (1) public opinion polls (as if they could somehow show that the influential Jewish lobby and the Israeli government`s PR efforts and exclusion of media from Gaza have no affect on what Americans see or think) and on (2) whether people who disagree with him or Israeli government policies are "anti-semitic" or "anti-Israel" (as if that tells us anything about their real bona fides or the merits of their concerns).

Are people like Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset and past head of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel "anti-Israel"?

Is Daniel Levy?

And are Jews like Tony Karon and on the D.I.R.T. list (for "Dense anti-Israel Repugnant Traitors") and S.H.I.T. list ("Self-Hating and Israel-Threatening") maintained by Masada2000, the website of militant right-wing Zionist followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane?

How is such an investigation or labelling even remotely helpful to an analysis of issues? Is it in fact intended PRECISELY to avoid analysis and discussion?
1.16.2009 11:13pm
davidbernstein (mail):
(1) Yes, Avraham Burg is anti-Israel. In a Ha'aretz interview in 2007, he denounced Israel as "fascist" and resembling Nazi Germany. Is that anti-Israel enough in a completely unhinged way for you? Ramsey Clark was Attorney General of the U.S., and that didn't stop him from becoming a loony anti-American leftist later in life.

(2) It's ironic that you accuse me of discussing people who are anti-Israel, and then you proceed to spend a couple of paragraphs on it.

(3) If you think it's irrelevant that someone who denounces Israel is anti-Semitic, as your comment implies, then you are too foolish to bother debating. Not to put too fine a point on it, while many critics of Israel are not anti-Semitic, serious studies have shown that anti-Israel feeling is strongly correlated with anti-Semitic feeling, in both the U.S. and abroad. People who are sincerely critical of Israel should be (but usually aren't) the first ones to blow the whistle on their anti-Semitic cohorts.

(4) I've talked about the merits of Israel's actions in a variety of contexts many times, but only within the limited scope of my knowledge. But if you don't like what I blog about, don't read it, and start your own blog.
1.17.2009 12:01am
davidbernstein (mail):
And by the way, I shouldn't let you get away with rhetorical dishonesty. I've never said or implied that someone who "disagrees with Israeli government policy" is therefore anti-Semitic, nor that someone who disagrees with me is anti-Semitic. I disagree with plenty of Israeli government policies, and I've changed my mind on various Israel-related issues many times. So by your assinine logic, I must think that I'm anti-Semitic.
1.17.2009 12:04am
wohjr (mail):
Haha David-

You don't think that commitment to Skor is reduced after the immediate end of the cold war? You really think the situation on the K peninsula is the same as it was just after the breakup in 91? Show me something that says the levels are the same these days and I might buy that bridge you're selling
1.17.2009 2:25am
bridge (buy me):
"The total cost of stationing U.S. troops in South Korea is nearly $3 billion annually. The South Korean direct financial contribution for 2005 and 2006 is $681 million." Larry A. Niksch, "U.S.-Korea Relations -- Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service (2005).

"In addition to the direct costs of its forces in Korea, averaging $2 billion per year, the United States spends more than $40 billion annually to maintain the overall U.S. defense posture in East Asia and the western Pacific on which its capability to intervene in Korea depends." Selig S. Harrison, "South Korea-U.S. Alliance Under the Roh Government," Policy Forum Online (2006).

"The security commitment to South Korea costs the United States approximately $15 billion a year." Edward H. Crane, Cato Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 108th Congress (2003).

"Out of a total cost annually of nearly $3 billion for stationing U.S. troops in Korea, South Korea's direct financial contribution in 2002 was $490 million (up from $399 million in 2000). . . . [additionally,] the U.S. has stressed that it plans to invest over $11 billion over the next four years in force enhancements." Norman D. Levin, Do the Ties Still Bind? The U.S.--ROK Security Relationship After 9/11 (2004).
1.17.2009 5:49am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Again- there are perfectly reasonable political considerations for the Egyptians and Jordanians to not want a lot of Palestinian refugees in their countries. The Egyptian reason has to do with their problems with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Jordanians are already in danger of being a minority in their own country as they have taken so many Palestinians already. Why would you view all these people as being part of one monolithic entity? Thats.. I dunno... painting people who look alike with a pretty broad brush wouldn't you say? There's another word I could use here... starts with an R, perhaps you can guess!
That's a rather odd way to look at it. Jordan has "taken" so many Palestinians and are in danger of being a minority? That's like saying that West Virginia "took" a lot of Virginians in 1861, and so West Virginians were in danger of being a minority in West Virginia. Those people were always there. There is no ethnic group called "Jordanian" to be a "minority in their own country." Palestinians and Jordanians are not distinct groups. (There are, of course, people of different sub-groups in Jordan, but "Palestinians" have always been one of those groups. They weren't even separate legal entities except for a brief period in the 20th century when Britain drew a line between them.) You seem to be confusing nationality with ethnicity, and throwing around charges of racism to conceal your confusion.
1.17.2009 12:11pm
Stevie Miller (mail):
So by your assinine logic, I must think that I'm anti-Semitic.

I do. There must be a certain degree of self loathing involved to continue repeating such self destructive actions.
1.17.2009 12:17pm
TokyoTom (mail):
David, thanks for your comments in response.

(1) Yes, Avraham Burg is anti-Israel. In a Ha'aretz interview in 2007, he denounced Israel as "fascist" and resembling Nazi Germany. Is that anti-Israel enough in a completely unhinged way for you?

There seem to be alot of Jews and Israelis who dislike the direction that Israel is heading in the face of demographic pressure, and a growing number of them who compare Israel`s treatment of Palestinians to the pre-war German treatment of Jews.

Care to clarify what is "unhinged" about their concerns or "anti-Israel" about Burg`s views? Or is the whole point of using such labels to avoid discussion?

For those who have just run into Avrum Burg for the first time, he and his new book are certainly getting alot of substantive discussion, in Israel, the US and elsewhere - such as in Time, the New York, TPM Cafe, Haaretz, LA Times, the Independent and Christian Science Monitor. Here are a few examples in reverse chron order:

How and (How Not) to Assess Israel's Moral Self-Destruction
By Jim Sleeper - January 15, 2009 (TPM)

Why the West can't win
By Avraham Burg 05/01/2009 (Haaretz)


Can the Jewish People Survive Without an Enemy?

By Tony Karon Thursday, Jan. 01, 2009 (Time)

One week`s discussion of Burg`s new book by many commentators at TPM Cafe Book Club


By Avraham Burg

November 16, 2008 (LA Times)


Avraham Burg: Israel's new prophet

Saturday, 1 November 2008 (Independent)

The Apostate: A Zionist politician loses faith in the future.
by David Remnick (New Yorker)

Haaretz interview
Leaving the Zionist ghetto By Ari Shavit

srael's 'Cloud Of Demographics'
December 15, 2003 (Christian Science Monitor)

The end of Zionism; Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and democracy (Guardian)

(2) It's ironic that you accuse me of discussing people who are anti-Israel, and then you proceed to spend a couple of paragraphs on it.

Actually, what I said what that you prefer to focus on whether people who disagree with you or Israeli government policies are "anti-semitic" or "anti-Israel", without bothering to explain the relevance of the label or the merits of their arguments. You continue simply to confirm my point. What`s gained, other than a petulant turning away from discussion?

(3) If you think it's irrelevant that someone who denounces Israel is anti-Semitic, as your comment implies, then you are too foolish to bother debating.

More immature strawmen. I haven`t suggested that there are NOT anti-Semites, but that going around trying to impose litmus tests on whose arguments one will listen to is hardly productive at best, if not itself in bad faith. People who sincerely care about Israel should be (but usually aren't) the first ones to blow the whistle on this nonsense.

(4) I've talked about the merits of Israel's actions in a variety of contexts many times, but only within the limited scope of my knowledge.

Good for you.

But if you don't like what I blog about, don't read it, and start your own blog.

My comments are on thread; feel free to ignore them if they lie outside your competence or very narrow area in which you choose to act as an advocate for Israel.

But I appreciate your statement as further support for my growing conclusion that you have little interest in a good faith discussion of Israel or US government policy towards the Middle East.
1.18.2009 4:55am
TokyoTom (mail):
And by the way, I shouldn't let you get away with rhetorical dishonesty. I've never said or implied that someone who "disagrees with Israeli government policy" is therefore anti-Semitic, nor that someone who disagrees with me is anti-Semitic. I disagree with plenty of Israeli government policies, and I've changed my mind on various Israel-related issues many times. So by your assinine logic, I must think that I'm anti-Semitic.

Oops, missed this friendly comment and thoughtful comment.

David, did I say that you said or imply that people who disagree with Israeli government policy or with you are anti-Semitic? I think all I said is that rather discussing policy disagreements, you prefer to focus on "whether people who disagree with [you] or Israeli government policies are "anti-semitic" or "anti-Israel"" - which is what you`re doing again here.

Can you explain how this remark deserved your "assinine" retort?
1.18.2009 10:19am
Michael B (mail):
Some pivotal facts and reason are beginning to be promulgated even in some MSM outlets, hence talk of "moral destruction" or dissolution needs to be directed inward, not outward, by those on the Left and in nearby precincts.

One critical case in point (brief youTube video), from al-Beeb, no less.

If the Left/Islamicist alliance begins to lose any substantial media time at all, resulting in more honestly informed constituencies, the presumptives among the Israeli Left, the Left in general and Left/Islamicist alliances most certainly will be in for some difficult times. Promulgating some basic truths has the potential, if only the potential at this time, to be devastating for the morally confused on the Left and elsewhere.
1.18.2009 4:59pm
Yankev (mail):

David, did I say that you said or imply that people who disagree with Israeli government policy or with you are anti-Semitic?
Yes, he has if not to DBernestein, then cerainly to others on this blog, and on more than one occassion. Equally important, he argues as though this were a topic of contention, with his repeated citations to Jews like Avram Burg to "prove" that not all opposition to Israeli policy is anti-Sen9itic -- as if anyone had implied otherwise.

I would venture, however, that any criticism that compares Israel's treatment of Palestinans to German actions preceding and during WWII is so unhinged and so ignorant of both current and historic fact as to be either anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent, whether it comes from Saeb Erekat or from Norman Finklestein.
1.18.2009 9:51pm
LM (mail):

I would venture, however, that any criticism that compares Israel's treatment of Palestinans to German actions preceding and during WWII is so unhinged and so ignorant of both current and historic fact as to be either anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent, whether it comes from Saeb Erekat or from Norman Finklestein.

So long as "functional equivalent" refers to how the criticism may influence those who read it, and not what it implies about the source's motives.
1.19.2009 1:29am
TokyoTom (mail):
Ah, brave Yankev sallies forth, to hope that others braver than him will address me, but only in the third person.

1. But here he - like David a real stickler for "rhetorical dishonesty" - trots out an allegation against me that he not cannot substantiate: that I have said that DB or others here have "said or impl[ied] that people who disagree with Israeli government policy or with [them] are anti-Semitic". Rather, I have said that "it's very easy to document that critics of Israel are frequently branded as anti-Semitic - or as "haters of Israel" or even "self-haters"" (while my primary point has been simpkly that discussions of anti-Semitism are unproductive, other than as a device to avoid discussion of Israeli (and US) actions and policy).

I wonder if DB, Yankev or anyone else actually disagrees with this statement, as a factual matter.

as if anyone had implied otherwise?

May I note the irony that Yankev, defense attorney for DB, himself embodies the charge: he suggests on another thread that I - after I quote Jewish commentators like David Schraub, Daniel Levy and Amos Gioura - am "functioning as a source of fascist (or in this case Islamist) propaganda", viz., that I - and by extension these commentators - am anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.

Further, while I have not argued that "not all opposition to Israeli policy is anti-Se[m]itic -- as if anyone had implied otherwise", but simply pointed out how unproductive it is to focus on whether a particular commentator is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel.

And I find it interesting that Yankel somehow has missed that David Bernstein has tried to argue expressly upthread that "Yes, Avraham Burg is anti-Israel ... in a completely unhinged way."

2. any criticism that compares Israel's treatment of Palestinans to German actions preceding and during WWII is so unhinged and so ignorant of both current and historic fact as to be either anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent, whether it comes from Saeb Erekat or from Norman Finklestein.

Sounds like you agree with David's characterization upthread of Avrum Burg's new book, but, like DB, you decline to offer any explanation why Burg's characterization is "unhinged".

Was Tommy Lapid, Holocaust survivor and former Israeli Justice Minister, "un-hinged" and "ignorant" of the differences between Israel's treatment of Palestinans and the pre-WWII treatment of Jews in Europe?

[Tommy Lapid,] The head of the council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Saturday assailed Jewish settlers who harass Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, saying the abuse recalled the anti-Semitism of pre-World War Two Europe.

Lapid's unusually fierce and public attack was prompted by television footage showing a Hebron settler woman hissing "whore" at her Palestinian neighbor and settler children lobbing rocks at Arab homes.

Lapid, a Holocaust survivor who lost his father to the Nazi genocide, said in a weekly commentary on Israel Radio that the acts of some Hebron settlers reminded him of persecution endured by Jews in his native Yugoslavia on the eve of World War Two.

"It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn," Lapid said.

"I was afraid to go to school, because of the little anti-Semites who used to lay in ambush on the way and beat us up. How is that different from a Palestinian child in Hebron?" ...

"It is inconceivable for the memory of Auschwitz to warrant ignoring the fact that there are Jews among us who behave today towards Palestinians just like German, Hungarian, Polish and other anti-Semites behaved towards Jews," he said.
1.19.2009 4:51am
Yankev (mail):

Was Tommy Lapid, Holocaust survivor and former Israeli Justice Minister, "un-hinged" and "ignorant" of the differences between Israel's treatment of Palestinans and the pre-WWII treatment of Jews in Europe?
Yes, Lapid is unhinged, and has often stated his disgust for the Jewish religion and its practitioners.
1.19.2009 9:46am
Yankev (mail):
TTroll,

Rather, I have said that "it's very easy to document that critics of Israel are frequently branded as anti-Semitic - or as "haters of Israel" or even "self-haters"" (while my primary point has been simpkly that discussions of anti-Semitism are unproductive, other than as a device to avoid discussion of Israeli (and US) actions and policy).

I wonder if DB, Yankev or anyone else actually disagrees with this statement, as a factual matter.

And yes, when criticism of Israel is exaggerated or based on a double standard, or shot-through with anti-Semitic memes (e.g. the Jews control the press, the media, the banks or whatever), such as past accusations by various PA officials that Israel was distributing chewing gum in the West Bank that was laced with a drug that renders Muslims sterile, or that Jewish doctors were injecting Palestinian babies with AIDS in Israeli hospitals, or the Palestinian Journalist who told Oprah that Israel was collaborating on an ethnic bomb that would kill only Arabs and Blacks, or Norman Finklestein's typical nonsense, a discussion of the critic's biases can indeed be useful in discussing whether the charges ought to play any role in evaluating US or Israeli actions, relations or policy.
1.19.2009 9:55am
Yankev (mail):
By the way, a number of people have claimed, on various related threads, that no one is rooting for a Hamas victory; it's all about legitimate criticism of Israel. Anyone who really believes that no one is demonstrating in support of a Hamas victory, the abolition of Israel or the extermination of Jews should take a look at some photos from a few demonstrations around the US. http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=230
1.19.2009 11:01am
TokyoTom (mail):
David, it would be a kindness if you could clarify whether you consider it within the bounds of the Volokh insistence on "civil", "polite" and "pleasant" comments for commentators to call others here "troll" and their comments "fascist and Islamist" "propaganda ; it would be helpful to know what is fair play, at least on your pages, in dealing with the occasional Wanker and Jac-off, and anti-American Israeli propagandist that I might run across here.

I know one good Jew has counselled that one should turn the other cheek to spittle and buffeting; do you agree that that is the best approach to productive discourse?
1.19.2009 10:27pm
TokyoTom (mail):
Herr Yankev:

1. What, no defense for your allegation that that I have said that DB or others here have "said or impl[ied] that people who disagree with Israeli government policy or with [them] are anti-Semitic" (as opposed to noting that "it's very easy to document that critics of Israel are frequently branded as anti-Semitic - or as "haters of Israel" or even "self-haters"" and that discussions of anti-Semitism are unproductive)?

Your last few posts show that you have nothing to say, other than to offer crybaby dismissals of the bona fides of virtually everyone who disagrees with you.

2. Lapid is unhinged, and has often stated his disgust for the Jewish religion and its practitioners

You said before that any comparison of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians and pre-WWII European treament of Jews is "so unhinged and so ignorant of both current and historic fact as to be either anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent". But is Lapin only unhinged, but not ignorant and so NOT anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent"?

And is everyone else who, like Lapin, was or is concerned about extremism among Israeli setters on the West Bank - including the Israeli government itself (Olmert, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, Ehud Barak, who called one settler ramage a "pogrom" - also "unhinged" and anti-Semitic?

3. "a discussion of the critic's biases can indeed be useful in discussing whether the charges ought to play any role in evaluating US or Israeli actions, relations or policy."

A perfectly fair and unobjectionable statement, of course, but take a step back and look at what you and David are doing - you are essentially plugging your ears to EVERYONE, even members of the Israeli establishment - by calling them enemies of Israel, enemies of the Jooz, wingnuts and wackos. It may be an emotionally satisfying tribal response, even as intellectually you must realize that it clearly doesn't fit a wide range of interlocutors who certainly do care for Jews and Israel. If you let this canard rest, it may eventually grow up into a beautiful (and powerful) swan.

But in the meanwhile, you ought to realize that even if you wish to paint the whole world as enemies of Israel that - while such an effort is counterproductive and perhaps even self-fulfilling - it still behooves Israel to listen to and talk with its "enemies".
1.19.2009 11:30pm
Yankev (mail):

David, it would be a kindness if you could clarify whether you consider it within the bounds of the Volokh insistence on "civil", "polite" and "pleasant" comments for commentators to call others here "troll" and their comments "fascist and Islamist" "propaganda ;


it would be helpful to know what is fair play, at least on your pages, in dealing with the occasional Wanker and Jac-off, and anti-American Israeli propagandist that I might run across here.


Your last few posts show that you have nothing to say, other than to offer crybaby dismissals of the bona fides of virtually everyone who disagrees with you.
Interesting selection of comments, Tom.
1.20.2009 2:01pm
Yankev (mail):

You said before that any comparison of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians and pre-WWII European treament of Jews is "so unhinged and so ignorant of both current and historic fact as to be either anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent"
Close to what I said, but not quite. I believe the word "German" was in my original statement.
But is Lapin only unhinged, but not ignorant and so NOT anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent"?
1.20.2009 2:04pm
Yankev (mail):
Sorry, clicked "Send" prematurely.

But is Lapin only unhinged, but not ignorant and so NOT anti-Semitic or the functional equivalent"?
Certainly unhinged. Certainly has very little love for Jews who adhere to the Jewish religion. And definitely has negotiated privately with parties at war with Israel that would be felonious if done by a US citizen with a nation the US was at war with. Most likely acting out of a deluded opportunism.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, Ehud Barak, who called one settler ramage a "pogrom" - also "unhinged" and anti-Semitic?
Way to distort (again)what I said. (As you did also by omitting the word "German" a post or two earlier. Feel free to post an ad hominen comment or two in response.

As to Olmert's "pogrom" comment, I would want to see the whole comment, in context, rather than rely on the NYT characterization of it.

you are essentially plugging your ears to EVERYONE, even members of the Israeli establishment - by calling them enemies of Israel, enemies of the Jooz, wingnuts and wackos.
Your sincere and well meant concern is noted, but I disagree with your assessment of the situation.
1.20.2009 2:17pm

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