Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Israel and human rights

with 8 comments

An interesting article in Yes! magazine by Stephen Zunes:

The great wish of the early Zionist leader Theodor Herzl was that Israel would be treated like “any other state.” Were that the case, there might be more rational and productive discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is particularly critical in light of Israel launching yet another devastating attack against civilian-populated areas of nearby Arab lands.

There are certainly those who do unfairly single out Israel, the world’s only predominantly Jewish state, for criticism. There is a tendency by some to minimize Israel’s legitimate security concerns and place inordinate attention on the Israeli government’s transgressions, relative to other governments that abuse human rights. There are also those who, in light of the five-year siege of the Gaza Strip and the enormous suffering of the Palestinian people, try to rationalize terrorism and other crimes by Hamas, the reactionary Islamist group currently in control there.

What we are witnessing from the Obama administration, however—as Hamas rains rockets into Israel and Israel rains bombs, missiles, and mortars into the crowded and besieged Gaza Strip—is the similarly unfair phenomenon of exempting Israel from criticism. While most of the international community has criticized both Hamas and Israel for their attacks on areas populated by civilians, the Obama administration has restricted its condemnation to the Palestinian side.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice—widely considered to be the president’s first choice to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State—correctly noted that there is “no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.” However, she had absolutely no criticism of Israel’s far more devastating attacks against the people of the Gaza Strip, simply saying that “Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks.”

The real issue, however, is not Israel’s right to self-defense but its attacks on crowded residential neighborhoods, which as of Tuesday had killed more than 70 civilians (as compared with three Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets). The Obama administration’s position is ironic given that, while both sides share the blame for the tragedy, it appears that it is Israel which has been primarily responsible for breaking the recent fragile ceasefires, through acts such as its assassination of a leading Hamas official and attacks that killed a number of boys playing soccer. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 December 2012 at 10:03 am

8 Responses

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  1. This article is full of lies and manipulations, it makes me laugh. I cannot start to respond to so many untruthful statements.


    9 December 2012 at 12:09 pm

  2. Well, it would be convenient if you pointed out, say, three lies and the corresponding corrections. A general statement such as you made is as substantial as smoke.

    FWIW, the article also includes many true statements, so it’s not at all clear which statements you’re saying are lies.


    9 December 2012 at 12:41 pm

  3. It’s unfortunate that those who are the most biased in Israel’s favor, refuse to be objective in terms of what is fair, right, and decent. I didn’t note any particular lies so I share your interest in wondering what the reader felt these lies and manipulations were.

    the warrioress

    9 December 2012 at 3:27 pm

  4. Given the number of lies he found in the article, I’m sure he will have no problem in coming up with three specific lies. What is frustrating is to attempt a discussion when the statements offered are so free of content. I thought we were making progress—at least he had discontinued offering “arguments” that consisted of nothing more than a string of personal insults—but the lack of specificity in this latest charge makes me wonder. I thought the article did a good job of recognizing the destructive aspects of Hamas and the pressure the attacks put on Israel, so I got the idea that it was balanced. But I’m eager to see the three lies he will identify. I’m not even ask for any manipulations (primarily because I don’t know what he means by that).


    9 December 2012 at 3:37 pm

  5. I don’t have tons of times but I’ll make my best later in the day.


    9 December 2012 at 8:42 pm

  6. 1. There is no 5 years siege on Gaza. Israel left Gaza in 2005 and it had no enter again except to pursue terrorists. As far as Israel’s concern Palestinians are free to come and go as they wish from they border with Egypt which is not under Israeli control. Palestinians who need special medical treatment are coming into Israel to receive it.

    2.”The real issue, however, is not Israel’s right to self-defense but its attacks on crowded residential neighborhoods, which as of Tuesday had killed more than 70 civilians (as compared with three Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets)”
    The article implies that Israel’s only objective is to kill civilians, not a word of the Hamas terrorists hiding in civilian houses and using their own children and women as human shields.

    3.”Fortunately, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in protest of their government’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. Israeli peace and human rights activists have called on the Obama administration to end its support for Netanyahu’s militarism. ”
    There was one or two gathering of people, maybe 50-100 persons, judge for yourself, you can watch it here:

    I can give more but I have no time and frankly, I don’t think it will matter to you.


    10 December 2012 at 5:59 am

  7. Using your numeration:

    1. I’ll have to do more research on this—that is, look up articles on the topic. But now at least I know what to look for. Thank you.

    2. No, the article does not imply that you say that it does. That is your inference, not its implication. The article simply states that Israel is killing lots more civilians than do Hamas, and that is true. Period. One inference is that Hamas seeks shelter among civilians (which is your claim and quite likely is true), but the other part of that is that Israel then fires to kill Hamas, knowing that civilians will be killed. Would Israel be so quick to blast away Israeli civilians to kill a terrorist? I don’t believe that it would. The low regard for (Palestinian) civilian life is one of the problems.

    3. At least in those protests, you are right: the crowd is much smaller than the article claims. Is the article referring to other protests? I don’t know, but it seems unlikely: these protesters said that those who protest are a tiny minority. But there are people on the ground there who do think the response is ill-advised and overreaction.

    I wish you could drop the personal comments. I know that it must be the way you are accustomed to discuss things, but it really moves the focus from the subject and interferes with understanding.

    I do appreciate your pointing out two errors in the article. (I discount no. 2, which I think is simply your own misinterpretation of a statement of fact—and indeed a statement with which you agree and regard as true—so it’s not a good example of a “lie.”)


    10 December 2012 at 9:31 am

  8. Michael, I came here to your blog following an interview with you on The Shave Nook. I really appreciate your book and what you do to promote wet-shaving. However I found out that your views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are so biased that I feel that any future effort of me trying to balance your views will be futile. I have little time and/or patience to write here when I know that is useless anyway. This is my last comment on your forum and my last visit to your blog.

    I wish you all the best and good luck with the book, you do a great service to the wet-shaving community.


    10 December 2012 at 11:53 pm

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