Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gaza and the Proportionality Cunundrum: Reflections by Andre Glucksman

The French philosopher, Andre Glucksmann, has penned some thoughts about the issue of proportionality in relation to Gaza.

Many people will certainly disagree with it. I don't.

City Journal Home.
André Glucksmann
On “Disproportion”
In Gaza, as everywhere, the word is irrelevant.
9 January 2009

When conflicts erupt, public opinion tends to divide between absolutists who have decided once and for all who is right and who is wrong, and more cautious people who judge a particular act as appropriate or not according to circumstances, prepared, if necessary, to withhold judgment pending further information. The confrontation in Gaza, as bloody and awful as it is, nevertheless contains a gleam of hope. For the first time in the conflict in the Middle East, the fanatical absolutists seem to be in the minority. The discussion among Israelis (Is this the right time for war? How far should we go? How long?) proceeds as expected in a democracy. What is surprising is that the Palestinians and their supporters are taking part in a similar public debate, to the point that, even after Israel’s launching of punitive operations, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, found the courage to attribute initial responsibility for the suffering of Gaza’s civilians to Hamas, which had broken its truce with Israel.

Unfortunately, the reaction of global public opinion—the media, diplomats, and moral and political authorities—seems to lag behind the thinking of those who are directly concerned. We cannot avoid the word that is on everyone’s lips and bolsters another kind of absolutism—the word that magisterially condemns Israeli acts as “disproportionate.” Captions on pictures of Gaza under attack express a universal and immediate consensus: Israel acts disproportionately. News reports and commentaries add other terms as opportunities present themselves: “massacre,” “total war.” At least the word “genocide” has been avoided so far. Will the memory of the so-called “Jenin genocide,” so often evoked before being discredited as a fiction, continue to restrain the worst of these verbal excesses? In any case, the absolute and a priori condemnation of the Jewish outrage defines the dominant line of thought in most parts of the world.

“Disproportionate,” of course, refers to what is out of proportion—either because no proportion has ever existed, or because an existing proportion has been broken or violated. It is the second meaning that is intended by those who castigate the Israelis for their reprisals, which are judged to be excessive, incongruous, and inappropriate, a violation of limits and norms. The implication is that there is a normal state of the Israel-Hamas conflict, some equilibrium that the Israeli military’s aggressiveness has disturbed—as if the conflict were not, like every serious conflict, disproportionate from the outset.

What is this correct proportion that Israel is supposed to respect in order to deserve the favor of world opinion? Should the Israeli army refrain from employing its technical supremacy and limit itself to the weapons that Hamas uses—that is to say, crude rockets and stones? Should it feel free to adopt the strategy of suicide bombers and the deliberate targeting of civilians? Or, better still, would it be appropriate for Israel to wait patiently until Hamas, with the help of Iran and Syria, is able to “balance” Israel’s firepower? Or might it be necessary to level the playing field regarding not only means but also aims? Hamas, unlike the Palestinian Authority, refuses to recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist and dreams of the annihilation of its citizens; should Israel match this radicalism?

Every conflict, whether dormant or boiling, is by its nature “disproportionate.” If the adversaries agreed on the use of means and on each other’s claims, they would not be adversaries. Conflict necessarily implies disagreement, and thus the effort of each camp to exploit its advantages as well as the other’s weaknesses. The Israeli army is doing just that when it “profits” from its technical superiority. And Hamas does no differently when it uses Gaza’s population as a human shield, unhindered by the moral scruples or diplomatic imperatives that constrain its adversary.

To work for peace in the Middle East, we must escape the temptations of absolutism, which entice not only fanatical hard-liners but also angelic souls who imagine that some sacred “proportion” would bring a providential balance to murderous conflicts. In the Middle East, the conflict concerns not only the enforcement of rules of the game, but their establishment. One has every right to discuss freely the appropriateness of a given military or diplomatic initiative, but not to imagine that the problem is soluble in advance by the ostensible right-thinking of world opinion. To wish to survive is not disproportionate.

André Glucksmann is a French philosopher. Translated from the French by Alexis Cornel.


Abba-Dad said...

If the discussion moves to the "disproportionate" arena, then whoever admonishes Israel's actions has already agreed that some sort of reaction is necessary. And since Israel will not randomly fire rockets into densely populated areas or send suicide bombers into Gaza, the only conclusion is that Israel's reaction is absolutely disproportionate. It is far less brutal than what the Hamas has been doing for the past 20 years.

By the way, as someone who walked the streets of Jabalya 20 years ago - nothing has changed. You would think that after 2 whole decades the Palestinian people would figure out that extremism doesn't work. But yet they still support Hamas and refuse to go down a peaceful route. The people are the only ones who can make all this stop. Israel really has no other choice in this matter because if their opponent is the Hamas, whose only objective is the destruction of Israel, then there really is no other option.


"At least the word “genocide” has been avoided so far."

Andre is wrong here. The word *was* used by a Hamas spokesman last week on CNN.

acadia said...

Hi Deborah,

I do support Israel's right to exist. But that doesn't meant that I should not criticize Israel "today."

We can bring philosophers, doctors, schollars, and astronauts to debate the Middle East topic. But one thing is for certain: During the last 50 years, Israel has created a breeding ground for terrorism in Gaza and West Bank. Palestinians live in unbearable conditions. There is not hope. Gaza is suffering, children are getting killed, and whatever Israel is doing, the U.S. supports it.

There cannot be valid argument to justify killings of hundreds of children in Gaza. How can you support something like this?

Editor of Srebrenica Genocide Blog

oferb said...

"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

I challenge any reader to show me one instance of Arab mass condemnation of the killing of Jewish children as there already is in Israel for the deaths caused in Gaza - even at present, in the midst of a battle that seems to have a wider-than-usual consensus within a nation known for its inability to foster a consensus (there's even a joke: ask 2 jews, get 3 answers).

the killing of children is inexcusable - even if, as in the case of the IDF, it's inadvertent.
the mere targeting of children, even when using ineffective scuds, is fiendish.
hiding behind a child and letting him/her be killed in your stead is the act of a coward who should eternally burn in hell.

i somehow doubt even the most downtrodden of gazites would argue.

The Smiths said...

dan writes: "At least the word “genocide” has been avoided so far."
Andre is wrong here. The word *was* used by a Hamas spokesman last week on CNN.

dan is absolutely correct. It is also being used by protesters all over the world. A rally in LA had signs that said "stop the US. Israel Genocide". Protesters have also been waving Israeli flags with a swastika superimposed or in-place of a Star of David. Other signs say "free Palestine from the river to the sea" - a geographical call for "wiping Israel off the map".

It seems that the "verbal excesses" are already beginning to be unleashed.

hockey hound said...

"During the last 50 years, Israel has created a breeding ground for terrorism in Gaza and West Bank. Palestinians live in unbearable conditions."

Islam's Muslims and their culturally inherent Jew hatred created this breeding ground for terrorism and no-one else. Yasser Arafat and the PLO, Hamas and the PA also.

Palestinians have become the victims of their own making. They chose to stand behind Arafat, a murderer inspired by an innate hatred of the Jew; they elected Hamas, a terrorist entity that has publicly stated they will, with their Allah's (not mine) help, exterminate all Jews and their Israel. These are Muslim zealots who deem a social infrastructure and a regular paycheck for the everyday Palestinian secondary to RPGs and plastique explosives.

Israel created this breeding ground for terrorist hatred? I don't think so. Islam created this breeding ground and the fools who take up as their own its anti-Jewish banner. You wave a web-site dedicated the memory of the genocide of the Muslims of Srebrenica (sadly, a genocide the world has all but forgotten) and you cannot admit to the internecine incompetence of the PLO, the PA, and Hamas and how they have failed to provide an infrastructure for their [Muslim] people?

You're obviously a Muslim and you cannot see the fatuity of Palestinians in such dire straits while the rest of the oil-rich countries of the Middle East -fellow Muslim no less- do nothing but supply arms and plastique to these madmen? Why did Jordan reject the Palestinians? Why did Lebanon reject the Palestinians? And you critize Israel, the only country who has actually provided any kind of employment (and women's rights) to the Palestinians that doesn't involve some sort of cruelty against other human beings?

I really do think the average Muslim (yourself included) is both pronoid and under the affliction of a mass myopia which prevents his/her seeing the insalubriousness of their religion. I am amazed that these Muslims cannot see the absurdity of their fellow religious killing other human beings over the offense of drawing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. They are incited to commit homocide because of a cartoon, but the disturbing violence of bloodshed is of less concern to them than the offense of a drawing mocking that same violent trend. Wake up, for goodness sake. "When the light is crooked, the shadow is crooked also."

Muslims should not presume to teach anyone about misbehaviour (yourself included), violent or otherwise, until their own behaviour-enmasse- proves their own capable and worthy of such platitudinous utterances. Your concerns, in my opinion, would be better served if you reserved your excoriations for the leaders of the Gaza Strip. You're a Muslim, do you think Hamas will listen to you if you suggest to them that genocide of the Jewish people of Israel, as promised in their charter, is not such a good ingredient for making peace with their Jewish neighbors? Israel has been suggesting this for the past fifty years.

If you support Israel's right to exist, why do you excoriate the past fifty years of their existence? Have you read about how your fellow Muslims have treated the Jews of the Middle East since long before the State of Israel (the second one) was established? Where is your criticizm of Arab-Muslims and their religiously inspired battues? You are being such a hypocrite. And I'm so tired of this hypocrisy precisely because it's the only obstacle, in my opinion, to peace in the Middle East.

"Blood must flow, there must be widows, orphans, hands and limbs must be severed and limbs and blood must be spread everywhere in order that Allah's religion can stand on its feet." -Fayaz Azzam, Brooklyn, New York.

"I have no doubt that moderate Muslims do exist. I actually know a couple." -Brigette Gabriel


Hamas Freedom fighters?

Forgive my cynicism but would I be correct in thinking that Hamas is in the 'blackmail game'. Just like that well known Swiss depositor Yasser Arafat [$3.6 bn] The blackmail is: You chuck primitive, cheap to make rockets each day into the Israelis backyard, knowing full well one day they'll respond, and when they do you go running to the United Nations for Aid. You then call for Arab Unity, mention that war is looming, and lo and behold those Euro, UK and USA Politicians soon come a'running waving cheque books. Last week for instance the British PM promised Gaza [read Hamas] £10m [$15m] and the take from this fictitious '*war fiddle*' might soon top the $250m+ region, and we can guess whose bank account it will end up in?

The people of Gaza know full well Israels history, they've seen the Israeli farms, roads, schools and crops growing in the fields. Is it asking too much to say when are you going to copy their example, and roll up your sleeves and start hoeing? And if you need agricultural aid and advice ask the Israelis for it.

Epaminondas said...

What is proportionate is what eliminates this from the hearts of the palestinian peoples, who elected HAMAS, the muslim brotherhood in gaza to carry out the purpose of THEIR existence.

There is never talk of peace from that side, only perhaps a truce. A truce which can have but one religious purpose. There can be no peace with HAMAS, otherwise they are not HAMAS.

That's all there is.
The rest is people trying to bring rationality to a religious war of the peoples.

From someone still hated in a certain area who knew what war is, up close, and from personal responsibility:
"This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war."

No matter what WE want, or how we desire the world to be, we must accept that some people just want to 'see the world burn', and in this case those people are the freely elected govt. Votes are a responsibility.

Hume's Ghost said...

The previous commenter is aware that there are children in Palestine who have no vote?

I'm curious if they fall into the category of "palestinian peoples" assigned collective guilt for the action of terrorists. Judging by the quote that Palestinian youth must be made to "feel the hard hand of war" I'm guessing yes.


I'm firmly on Israels side, but would argue that warring nations have no right to bomb each others buildings from the air, or to use any explosive weapons in an *irresponsible manner. What I'm trying to say is a mans home is his castle and refuge and my neighbours wife and children, even if I hate his guts are my wife and children, and I'm fully responsible at all times for their safety. Whilst I can do nothing to press my views on others, it is open to the Palestinan people themselves to say 'Enoughs-enough'. The Palestinians cannot afford war, they cannot afford the civil upset, the building damage or carnage. Once this message gets through to them then there's hope for the future. If they want war then let it be against poverty, ill-health, poor housing, lack of hospitals and social facilities for the elderly and youth's, and mostly the lack of jobs. They really need a David Ben Gurion to lead them, not a group of 'past their sales date agitators'. PS: All weapons are used in an irresponsible manner especially aircraft bombs and suicide bombs. This raises the question do the Palestinians really value their young people when they allow them to kill themselves in such an shabby manner. If Hamas was to stop suicide bombs it would indicate they are aiming to change for the better?

hockey hound said...

Hume's Ghost, I don't think there's anyone on this blog who doesn't know that children haven't a right to vote in Palestine. Is there such a country where children are allowed to vote? If so, I have never heard of it. However, that being said, with the abundance of anti-Jewish canards and Islamic shibboleths with which these Palestinian Muslim children are being inculcated from their Hamas teachers, I can bet, were children allowed to vote in "Palestine", they would have voted for Hamas as did their parents.

David Horowitz has written in Front Page Magazine, 'The Palestinians are the only people in history to have a majority support a national death cult, to worship the murderers of little children (including their own), and to proclaim the murderers saints and “martyrs.”' I've seen photographs of Palestinian children dressed up as suicide bombers and soldiers. I do not hold the children responsible (that would be as irresponsible as blaming the IDF for the hatred these same children harbour against the Jews of Israel, man, women, and child).

I'm curious, what do you feel about Jewish children being murdered by Muslim terrorists? Jewish children are not allowed to vote either. One of the many differences between these Jewish children and the Palestinian children, however, is that the Jewish children are not encouraged by their parents to someday blow themselves up in a Palestinian restaurant or other places of concourse in Palestine.

Can you see where I'm going with this, Hume's Ghost? Or are you so intent on blaming the Jews for everything that you cannot see the insalubriousness of teaching one's children anti-Jewish hatred, even if it's advocated in one's religious books?

marosy said...

Israel must comply with UN resolutions 242 and 338 and the ruling of ICG regarding the wall.

hockey hound said...

"Israel must comply with UN resolutions 242 and 338 and the ruling of ICG regarding the wall"

Please. This guy brings up the UN? Don't make me laugh. If the UN were doing what it was originally intended to do, we wouldn't have this problem with Hamas. But since the UN is an organization whose efficacy has been for decades retarded by the hypocrisy of its Islamic member states and their collective hatred of the Jews and the State of Israel, all such resolutions as listed above are become meaningless to all thinking men and women.

The UN is a joke. Anyone who hasn't noticed this in the last twenty years is living in a dream world. And if I had my way, this same joke would be kicked out of United States altogether and sent packing to somewhere more acculturated to its anti-Israel/anti-Jewish and anti-American bias. How about a quaint little androcracy like Saudi Arabia.

Tell us, Marosy, has the UN (after how many years of "observation"?) decided yet whether or not there is actually genocide happening in Darfur? Or have the Arab "Janjaweed" murdered all the black Muslims by now?

The UN is in no position to dictate to Israel's Jews (or anyone else for that matter) how they should defend themselves against maniacal, frenzied terrorists from the Gaza Strip. What is that Christian proverb? "Before you can take the speck from your neighbor's eye, first remove the log from your own eye."

hockey hound said...

The below news article should give many of us a better perspective on what has been Israel's "proportionate response" to Hamas' rocket attacks on the Jewish civilians of Israel. Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi's foaming-at-the-mouth utterances are a perfect example of the culture of anti-Jewish hatred Islam has created, and continues to foster, in the Middle East (and now in Western democracies).

Saudi scholar on Hamas TV: Jews are the enemies of Allah and should be killed
Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Gaza Update 11
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
January 12, 2009

"Jews are the enemies of Allah," and therefore by definition are the enemies of all Muslims. This opinion is expressed by Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi, head of the Department of Islamic Studies at Saud University in Saudi Arabia, in a speech broadcast last week on Hamas TV. The religious scholar also prays for the extermination of all Jews: "Kill them one by one and don't leave even one." Hamas leaders have expressed on numerous occasions the belief that all Jews should be exterminated. (Click to see PMW bulletin.)

The religious scholar likewise expresses rage at the Muslim countries who are allied with the West, calling them "traitors... who believe in America," instead of in Allah.
View Video Coverage

Palestinians from both Hamas and Fatah, along with much of the Islamic world, present the Arab conflict with Israel as a conflict of Islam against Jews, completely rejecting the territorial aspect and calling it a religious conflict.
Many also define the conflict in a broader perspective - as a global religious conflict between Muslims and non-Muslim countries - and condemn as traitors moderate Arab countries that ally with America.

The following are statements from Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi's speech:

"You don't treat the Jews as enemies only because they are human beings who eat and drink. No! We treat them as enemies because they are the enemies of Allah and the prophets, they murdered the prophets, distorted the prophecy, they are traitors and deceivers - therefore we treat them as enemies."

"We are a [Muslim] nation who believes in the Hidden, and you [Muslim] traitors don't believe. We believe in the Almighty Allah and you [Muslim traitors] believe in America and Israel. We believe that Allah, may He be Exalted, sent His soldiers against America in many places in the world."

"Oh Allah, inflict as many losses as possible on the Jews, kill them one by one and don't leave even one."
[Hamas TV, Jan. 8, 2009]

Toby said...

I am not impressed by Glucksman's essay on "proportionality". It would be interesting to find out if he thought the Serb bombardment of Saravejo and Dobrovnik was proportionate to the objectives of their war.

What he seems to arguing is for the constant use of Maximum Force, a doctrine which would surely warm the heart of any tyrant. Maximum Force means cluster bombs and phosporous boms in civilian areas. Why stop there? Lets break out the napalm and the bumker-busters.

Maximum force is amoral - using the maximum possible force without regard to "collateral" casualties is barbarbic, worthy of Genghis Khan.

Incidentally, I noted in a random search of an Israeli newspaper (Haaretz)that in a single week in 2006, 8 Israelis were killed in road accidents. That is more than have been killed by Hamas rockets. What maximum force is Israel using to save the lives of its driving citizens?


In practice we are never going to have peace when injured Palestinian children are going to be paraded as proof of Israels callousness towards 'the peace loving' Palestinian people [sic]

The best thing Israel can do is to grab 50 - 100 of these injured children, rush them to Israeli hospitals and treat them for their injuries alongside Jewish children who have been blinded, maimed or have lost limbs. Hospital treatment needs to be International, and needs to be seen working for the common good.

The Smiths said...

FAIRPLAY - you suggest that Israel rush children to Israeli hospitals to disprove Israel's "callousness"? Well, guess what? Palestinian casualties are being treated in Israel.

Barak orders Israel army to let Palestinians be treated in Israel:
"Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak ordered the army Wednesday to allow Palestinians stranded at the Erez crossing point and who need urgent medical attention, to receive treatment in Israel, the Ynet news site reported."

If Israel was really "callous" and really intent on "genocide", then why on earth would they bother to treat the wounded? The fact is FAIRPLAY that these kinds of stories do not receive any coverage in major media outlets, and the fact is that the enemies of Israel don't care how many innocents get treated in Israeli hospitals, they will continue to hate Israel and all Jews.


Reply to the Smiths.

Residing in Leeds, in the North of England, I was totally unaware that Barak had ordered [or made] this decision on medical aid. It makes sense. But why not go one better and treat ALL Palestinians who are sick or injured. Offer them free medical aid in Israeli Hospitals as a long-term goodwill gesture. This might be the key to breaking the deadlock of hate. Let the Israelis set up an flying doctor service, with motorbike paramedics and free ambulances. I know there's danger involved for the medical staff and the hospital security question/s would be enormous. I also realise the Palestinian public will be ordered not to seek aid and some who ignore this order will be shot and assasinated, but whats the alternative. Making this gesture will be front page news worldwide, news thats hard to refute. And no one wants any child - Jewish or Palestinian to die. The same applies to Palestinian pregnant mothers, the destitute and the needy. Observing the-tit-for-tat is saddening. Time for change?

The Smiths said...

FAIIRPLAY - your response (to the fact that Israel is treating wounded Palestinians) is essentially "that's nice, but it's not enough, Israel must do more."

First of all, you are holding Israel to a double-standard. You want change but the ONLY party you expect to change is Israel. Second, you assert that Israel's extraordinary efforts will make "front page news", in spite of the fact that their current efforts have gone almost unnoticed. Third, you say this will be "new that's hard to refute". On the contrary, it would be absurdly easy to refute and spin in a way that makes Israel look bad. Finally, you are ignoring the sad reality that hatred is neither logical nor rational.


I disagree with the Smiths, and point out that you cannot have a dialogue with Hamas, whilst you can with the Israeli leaders. The West knows that. Hamas may not want to change, but my suggestion to provide medical aid is directed at the Palestinian public and not Hamas. This message of free medical aid for all is one hopes so powerful it will make thousands of peaceful Palestinians look closely at the deal and want to take up the offer. Free medical aid is a good PR move, that might do a power of good. Better to offer medicine than bombs, F11 aircraft, and highly trained troops etc. If I was an Israeli I'd hope Mossad would pinpoint the Hamas leaders and quietly remove them from office?

The enemy is not the Palestinians but Iran and Syria. Need I add that Britain tried bombing Germany into submission and what a mistake that was. Winning wars is not worth the paper it's reported on.

marosy said...

Dear Hockey Hound,

According to you "The UN is a joke."
If the UN is a joke, then tell me, was the UN resolution 181 also a joke?
I think that all states must comply with international laws, UN charter and UN resolutions.

hockey hound said...

"The Human Rights Council is now the U.N.’s lead human-rights body, and examples of egregious human-rights violations should not have been hard to find. In Darfur, there are three quarters of a million people beyond humanitarian reach, 2.5 million people displaced by the violence, 385,000 people in immediate risk of starvation, and over two million dead in 22 years of violence and deprivation. But it wasn’t genocide in Sudan that interested the Human Rights Council. Nor was it a billion Chinese without civil and political rights. Not 13 million women in Saudi Arabia whose lives depend on hiding from sight in public places and never being caught behind the wheel of an automobile. Not the dire human-rights conditions of 23 million people in North Korea. Not Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s incitement to genocide or his country’s legal system, which includes crucifixion, stoning and amputation.

"No; there was only one country singled out by the U.N. Human Rights Council, and that was Israel. The Council decided that the program for the first session should focus discussion on five issues; the first one being the “human rights situation in the occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine.” (The rest were “support for the Abuja Peace Agreement,” and three thematic subjects.) The Council placed criticism of Israel permanently on the agenda of all future sessions. It gave only the special investigator on Israel what amounted to a permanent mandate. On its final day, the Council passed just one resolution condemning human-rights violations by any of the 192 U.N. members, and directed it at Israel. When it was all over, the Council decided to hold its first special (emergency) session within a few days — on Israel." -Ann Bayefsky

Yeah, the UN is a joke.



[Quote] Dear Hockey Hound, According to you "The UN is a joke." If the UN is a joke, then tell me, was the UN resolution 181 also a joke? I think that all states must comply with international laws, UN charter and UN resolutions.

I'm glad to see that you want all states to comply with UN resolutions. Well lets start with the 50% of members who haven't paid their membership fees for years. And lets have a new resolution that Uncle Sam stops picking up the tab.

Hume's Ghost said...

I'm curious, what do you feel about Jewish children being murdered by Muslim terrorists?

I'm for it of course. Why else would I express dismay towards a specific commenter who said, in effect, that the entire Palestinian population needs to feel hard hand of war. Obviously, only anti-Semites object to the flippant dismisal of civilian casualties in an armed conflict.

Jewish children are not allowed to vote either. One of the many differences between these Jewish children and the Palestinian children, however, is that the Jewish children are not encouraged by their parents to someday blow themselves up in a Palestinian restaurant or other places of concourse in Palestine.

Right, yes. Which is why all Palestinian children grow up to be terrorists or persons who endorse terrorism.

Can you see where I'm going with this, Hume's Ghost? Or are you so intent on blaming the Jews for everything that you cannot see the insalubriousness of teaching one's children anti-Jewish hatred, even if it's advocated in one's religious books

Are you delusional or something? I did not "blame the Jews" for anything. I addressed a specific sentiment expressed by an individual commenter and yet you've jumped to the conclusion that my aversion to civilian deaths means I'm an anti-Semite. You might want to check the mirror and consider who the one doing the pre-judging is.

As a secular humanist, I consider militant groups like Hamas to be about as antithetical to my values as it can get. I consider the teaching of children to hate - as exemplified in the video Professor Lipstadt has previously posted of the Hamas children's video - is a crime against humanity.

However, recognition of that fact does not preclude me from responding to someone who says that children need to feel the hard hand of war. I don't care who the children are, anywhere ... I happen to be someone who finds that to be a horrific sentiment.

hockey hound said...

...responding to someone who says that children need to feel the hard hand of war. I don't care who the children are, anywhere ... I happen to be someone who finds that to be a horrific sentiment."

Hume's Ghost, I also consider the statement that "children need to feel the hard hand of war" an "horrific sentiment." Keep in mind next time you denigrate me as being delusional (a statement unbefitting a "secular humanist") that I did not make this statement.

"As a secular humanist, I consider militant groups like Hamas to be about as antithetical to my values as it can get."

This statement compels me to ask you, Do your values as a "secular humanist" have any reservations about the tenets of Islam? I'm thinking particularly of those Islamic tenets that have ill-defined the non-Muslim and the Jew. I've seen the values of so many other "activists" lose their dexterity when confronted with the primitive delineation of these same Islamic "values" only to slide into the vortex of relativism and sophistic babble.

Efraim Halevy, former director of Mossad, has written that, "The true masterstrokes of history are not only found through research in secret archives and intelligence files. Rather they appear in the broad daylight of public documents, speeches, and pronouncements all distributed through the interlocking components of the international media. I have always believed that one should accept as credible and genuine that which a political leader tells his audience or what a terrorist helmsman divulges to the media. These pronouncements should be taken at face value unless proven otherwise. One ignores them at one's own peril." I'm wondering, Hume's Ghost, do you take the anti-Jewish sentiment of the Quran at face value? Does this anti-Jewish sentiment offend you as a secular humanist? Or will you exculpate, as do the gutless sophists and "delusional" pluralists of this world, these insalubrious tenets as being the fault of, and restricted to, some itinerant culture that is exposed only with the manifestation of Islamic terrorism?

Ajai Sahni has written that, "There is no locus of terrorism." I believe this axiom can be verified in a geographical context, but not in a religious context. It is my view that Islam is the source of all terrorism, and Islam, in my opinion, is the State of Israel's most prevalent enemy. And this enemy, given a precise definition by Hamas, determines altogether what should be Israel's "proportionate" response.

hockey hound said...

"Which is why all Palestinian children grow up to be terrorists..."

Nowhere did I say that ALL Palestinian children grow up to be terrorists. You are aggrandizing my statements. This also is not befitting a secular humanist.

"Which is why all Palestinian children grow up to be...persons who endorse terrorism."

Well, if their parents, as a majority Muslim electorate, elected Hamas - designated by much of the Western world as a terrorist entity - then it only stands to reason that a majority of their children will endorse terrorism long before reaching adulthood. Perhaps this projection offends your secular humanism?

Hume's Ghost said...

Hume's Ghost, I also consider the statement that "children need to feel the hard hand of war" an "horrific sentiment." Keep in mind next time you denigrate me as being delusional (a statement unbefitting a "secular humanist") that I did not make this statement.

This is the sort of about-turn that makes it difficult for me to take you seriously. Obviously you didn't make the original statement ... the fact that I referenced that I was responding to a speficic commenter was quite clear. And yet it was my response to that specific commenter that kicked off your bizarre rant accusing me of blaming everything on Jews. The delusion comes from you apparently seeing me having written something (i.e. "blaming the Jews") that I did not write.

The rest of your questioning is insulting semi-McCarthyesque nonsense. I need not prove to your satisfaction my disdain for Islam to express by contempt at the notion that a population collectively needs to feel the hard hand of war.

That someone doing so sets you off into such fits does not reflect well on you.

hockey hound said...

"...insulting semi-McCarthyesque nonsense."

Semi???-McCarthyesque nonsense? That phrase has got to be the product of rote learning! I've never heard of this from my circle of friends. LOL I'm just thankful as hell it's not full-blown McCarthyesque nonsense. That could be truly problematic. Perhaps I'm redeemable after all!

"I need not prove to your satisfaction my disdain for Islam to express by contempt at the notion that a population collectively needs to feel the hard hand of war."

Wheww! Your response to my post is disproportionate, Hume's Ghost! Temper, temper. Is such unbridled passion permitted a secular humanist?

Please forgive my jests, Prof. Lipstadt. I'm done commenting on this subject. I've had my say. And thankyou for that liberty, Prof. Lipstadt.

Have a good Shabbos, Prof. Lipstadt.

hockey hound said...

Harper's strong stand
Lorne Gunter, National Post
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Monday, Canada stood alone at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in opposing a motion that would have condemned Israel -- and not Hamas -- for the current Gaza conflict.

Thirty-three nations voted for the resolution, 13 nations, mostly Western, abstained. Only one nation-- Canada--had the courage to vote "nay."

This prompted the Toronto Star to insist "the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel."

It's true the Harper government has been a staunch ally of Israel these past three years. It's the Star's other assertion that's hogwash: Under the Liberals, Canada never had an "even-handed approach" to Mideast affairs. It had a mealy-mouthed one.

Canadian diplomats and ministers claimed to see merit in the demands of both sides. Our official policy goal was to become an "honest broker" by putting as much stock in the integrity of terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO as we did in the Israeli government.

We poured hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction aid into the West Bank and Gaza, then turned a blind eye when large chunks of that money was diverted into the villas and Swiss bank accounts of Palestinian leaders. We didn't want to jeopardize our chances of being a mediator acceptable to the terrorists -- should they ever decide to negotiate a last peace -- by being churlish about their kleptomania, cronyism and corruption.

Canada indirectly paid for textbooks for Palestinian schools that denounced Israel and left the Jewish state off maps of the Middle East. And,

under the Liberals, our UN diplomats time and again voted for resolutions condemning Israel for its self-defensive actions, or abstained and let the one-sided motions go through.

That's the approach the Star labelled "evenhanded." That's the approach the Harper government has abandoned -- though it should be noted that since it was getting us nowhere in our quest to become the region's fair-minded dispute adjudicator, there wasn't much to abandon.

Monday's UNHRC resolution accused Israel of "grave" crimes against humanity in several places, but never once mentioned the eight years of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians that brought about the current fighting. It called for Israel's military actions to be investigated, but never asked for the same scrutiny of Hamas.

The motion was typical of the UN's highly biased approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict: Condemn Israel. Enumerate its every possible transgression. Then ignore all Palestinian provocations and violence.

The symmetrics of the Middle East conflict are uneven. All Hamas has ever had to do to avoid bloodshed is recognize Israel's right to exist and stop lobbing bombs into Israeli backyards.

It cannot even do that.

Hamas television constantly foments for the eradication of Israel. Hamas schools teach that Jews are subhuman and need to be pushed into the sea. The so-called two-state solution--a homeland each for Palestinians and Jews -- is still largely a Western pipe dream. The goal of most Palestinians is the elimination of Israel, period. Many influential imams in Gaza and the West Bank routinely preach that is the duty of good Muslims to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.

Most Gazan Palestinians still refer to Israel as their "occupier," even though Israel has had no troops or settlers in the Strip for nearly four years. The reason is, so long as Israel occupies as much as a square kilometre in the region, Palestinian leaders will be unsatisfied. They are, at heart, one-state-solution proponents: That is, one Palestinian state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan with no Jews allowed.

Until the Harper government came along, Canada was an international enabler of such thinking. We were not alone. On Monday, Britain, France, Japan and South Korea abstained from the offensive UNHRC vote. Under the Liberals, we would have, too.

Permitting such resolutions to pass unchallenged merely confirms in the most radical Islamists' minds that they may continue in their extremism and the West will do nothing. Such abstentions encourage extremism, not compromise.

Good for the Harper government for wanting no part of them.