How Israel's Defiance of the World Court Is Undermining the War on Terrorism





Mr. Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Human Rights Center and Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His book, From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, is scheduled to appear next month (Rowman and Littlefield). He can be reached at neve_gordon@yahoo.com.

Even though three years have passed since 9/11, most political leaders have failed to seriously probe the implications of the horrific attacks.

One of the key questions that could have been asked following 9/11 is how the absence of certain international institutions helps engender conditions whereby groups and states resort to horrendous violence. Questions like this do not intend in any way to condone terrorism but rather to stimulate an investigation of how the creation and strengthening of international institutions might help prevent terrorism by providing non-violent alternatives through which people can channel their grievances. A few institutions of this kind already exist whereas others still need to be established.

One such institution is the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whose unequivocal ruling regarding Israel's separation barrier was published on July 9th. The Palestinians presented their grievances to the Court and after extended deliberations the judges declared that Israel's construction of the barrier in the Occupied Territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, is in violation of international law. The judges further stated that:

1) Israel is obligated to terminate its breaches of international law and therefore must cease the construction of the barrier;

2) Israel must dismantle the barrier that has already been built and repeal all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto;

3) Israel must make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Territories;

4) The United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required in order to bring the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall to an end.

Last week, exactly two months after the unambiguous verdict was published, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Sharon decided to continue building the separation barrier deep inside Palestinian territory, thus defying the International Court. Sharon announced that the barrier will be built around Jewish settlement blocs located in the Palestinian West Bank -- settlements like Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumin and Gush Etzion -- regardless of the fact that the barrier's construction will violate the basic rights of over 875,000 Palestinians, 38 percent of the West Bank population.

As if to make matters clear, the Israeli military began assembling the concrete slates in A-Ram, which sprawls across the northern border of Jerusalem. Ultimately, A-Ram's 60,000 Palestinian residents, the majority of whom have Israeli identity cards, will be surrounded by a wall and live in a ghetto of sorts. They will be cut off from their jobs, medical care will not be accessible, and children will be unable to reach schools.

While sovereign states tend to resist the enforcement of international law in territories under their control, Sharon is, nonetheless, making a critical mistake by refusing to comply with the ICJ's ruling. The U.S. and several other countries, in turn, are making just as serious a mistake by supporting his actions.

The crux of the matter is that by disregarding the ruling, the international community is undermining the legitimacy of the ICJ, the very Court which was established in the wake of the world's revulsion at the crimes perpetrated against Jews and other minorities. It was, after all, the Holocaust which led the international community to realize the urgency of creating a judicial body that could judge unlawful actions carried out by sovereign states against people living within their territory and under their jurisdiction.

By undermining the ICJ, Sharon is not merely ignoring the lessons learned from the tragic history of the Jews, but is also undercutting the Court's vital role as an impartial mediator in the international realm. The world's leaders are silently watching him do so, even though in a post 9/11 world it is precisely these kinds of institutions that need to be strengthened; military-might, as the past few years have so clearly proven, will not curb the escalating employment of violence.


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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


An Israel being led by a Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (or a reasonable facsimile, e.g. Amran Mitzna) rather than being dragged into disaster by those (speaking in a general sense) who murdered him, as it is now, would make as big a difference to that country and its region as a President John McCain (for example), instead of the current President Bush-Cheney, would make to America and the world. It is true that Rabin's name gets mentioned infrequently here. On rare occasions, Daniel Pipes slips up and refers him, once every 20 articles or so. I am more often negative on HNN for the same reasons that I am generally positive about real history: I believe in relying on facts and open-minded insights rather than formulaic stock political positions such as "left" vs "right".


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I agree, Adam, that imprecise substitution of government or leader for name of country or citizens thereof can and does go both ways. I think it is matter of obvious fact which of those two types of inaccuracy has been more common, deliberately or otherwise, in the case of Sharon / his coalition / the state of Israel, as it has been presented in the headlines on this website and in the mainstream American newsmedia over the past 3-4 years. I respect your sound judgement and objectivity and expect that they will lead you to draw the obvious conclusions, but you can take it from me (if you want, or judge from your own experiences) that there are plenty of other places in the world where the deliberate obfuscation and bias goes in a nearly directly opposite direction. In those forums ( under other pen names) I am consistently opposed to false notions commonly found (in contrast to their virtual nonexistence on HNN) which, for example, excuse cafe bombings as some sort of inevitable result of frustration. As I have said more than once here before, two wrongs do not make a right, and that goes both for the wrongs that are vigorously discussed in some settings and swept under the rug in other places and times, and vice versa.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Adam, You are arguing against voices not present here.

I have never "pretended" that the wall "was built in 1948" or would have been a barrier to peace if had. In 1948, the wall would have had to have been built on the internationally recognized border. The West Bank was not under Israeli control in 1948.

The overriding problem with the wall, which the Sharon apologists (which don't include you, Adam, but their voices are all over this website) never admit, is that it is NOT ON THE BORDER where it should be, but is being used as a land grab. No matter what happens, eventually that land or some compensating concession will have to be given back to the Palestinians as part of an overall deal (along with the many concessions both sides will have to make: restitution for refugees, and for terrorist victims, water rights compromises, Jerusalem, and all the other thorny issues). Sharon's co-opting of Labor's plan for a wall ON the border, after three years of needless death and destruction, but moving the route from the border INTO Palestinian territories does nothing to improve Israel's security, or any other interest either, except for a few fanatical settlers (who seem to be forever invisible to the Sharon dupes on HNN). It is a delaying tactic which postpones an eventual peace deal along the lines of the Geneva accord. Here we CAN talk about "pretending", because the Sharon team is pretending that its would-be unilateral actions are better than the Geneva plan when they actually, at best, are just a more indirect means to it.

Of course, the wall will save a few Israeli lives, but the wall itself is not the real issue. A wall on the proper border -as it is shown on just about every map and atlas around the world- would also save lives.

Let’s get back to the main issue here, if we can:

Gordon's article is about as straightforward and undeniable as anything ever seen on this pretend (indeed!) history website. The only thing problematic about it is the deliberately misleading headline plastered at the top.

Nowhere does the author mention “Israel’s defiance” as the headline PRETENDS (!) Israel is a kaleidoscope: from the settlers (a sort of Jewish version of Hamas) to "Peace Now" to a myriad of groups in between. Gordeon does refer prominently and repeatedly to the prime minister whose policies are at issue: Sharon “decides”, Sharon “announces”, Sharon makes the “critical mistake”, and Sharon "ignores" lessons of the Holocaust. Gordon never uses that empty, dangerous, and critical-thinking-suppressing propaganda phrase, “war on terrorism.”

I rest my indictment.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


You make some worthwhile points, Adam,in your post above but this is not among them:

"When Israel kills a terrorist, the international community erupts in hate."

This is nonsense. Many Palestinians erupt in hate, no doubt. As many Israelis would in their place. And the cycle of terror, retribution, and hate continues, just as Sharon and Arafat and Hamas and the settlers want.

The "international community" reacts more strongly to the 10 or 20 civilians killed by IDF for every real terrorist it slays, and their protest is against that cycle of never ending violence not against Israel or for its enemies. The historical record is pretty clear on this.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Once again arcane legal arguments are used for an implicit (at least) defense of actions of a government whose cardinal strategy is based on unceasing and blatant illegality (see Gordon's article above). This contradiction is also known as hypocrisy, and is not a way forward for the security of Israel or America.

1. The border is recognized in nearly every map I've ever seen of the area for the last 30 or 40 years. Of course it is not official yet, because there is no final agreement between Israel and a Palestinian state the formation of which Sharon and Palestinian extremists (albeit for different reasons) have repeatedly managed to sabotage. Not only has this border been a defacto dividing line (except for the settlements) for decades, it or something close to it is the only demographically realistic long-run demarcation between the two nations.

2. There are actually a host of "frameworks" for "resolving the dispute". The most widely accepted is the "Mitchell Plan" turned "Road Map" of the "Quartet". The most viable is the Geneva agreement, i.e. the deal that might have been signed already were it not for Arafat and Sharon going off on their ultimately pointless campaigns of tit for tat slaughter and destruction, while GW Bush whistles Dixie from the sidelines and opens up America's purse for Sharon to pilfer from at will.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Has Sharon "stopped terrorism" ? Are the hundreds of Israelis murdered by terrorists under his dysfunctional regime therefore victims of the Israeli Prime Ministers' pandering anti-Semitism ?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Adam notes (#43351 above):

"The reality is that Israel has no reason to believe that the terrorism will end once the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza end, and that to me is the real barrier to peace."

A fair point. That is why Labor Party politicians (not Sharon) first endorsed the idea of a protective wall. But they wanted a wall on the border recognized on every map and by 99.99% of the rest of the world, NOT, as Sharon has put it, deep into the West Bank as part of a pandering to a subset of Israel's most extreme lunatic fringe. Every country in the world has terrorists, killers, criminals and extremists. Israel is no exception. Sharon, of course realizes that he will eventually have to confront at least some of the religious nuts in his own camp, but he clings to trying to have his cake and eat it too, by forcing the Gaza settlers to leave while pandering to the West Bank settlers who are as much an obstacle to Israel's peace and security as Hamas and Islamic Jihad are: locating the wall so as include their ghastly and ugly settlements within it. This is a policy that has not worked so far, and is not likely to. Israel has suffered more terrorism under Sharon than under Barak, and Sharon has squandered the international goodwill Israel had built up before him in the '90s when Israeli prime ministers got Nobel Peace Prizes and Tel Aviv cafegoers were not afraid of being bombed. Goodwill, by the way, is one reason the world overwhelmingly supported America going into Afghanistan. People in most countries tend to support victims and underdogs, as the Israelis clearly were in 1948 and up to 1967, and mostly were since then (before Sharon) (and as America seemed to some extent on September 12, 2001) but do not like to support arrogant bullies (as Israelis now appear to many) thanks to the current prime minister's misrule.

Israel is now even stronger militarily than it ever was in the old days of Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, and Yitzhak Rabin, but it is not better liked and certainly not safer. Many Israelis realize this; it is their diehard and closed-minded supporters in America who are less often able to grasp reality (even those able to recognize Sharon’s style of arrogant miscalculation when it takes place in the more obviously bumbling hands of George W. Bush).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Arafat and Sharon certainly are the issue if you consider history rather than hiding behind twisted AIPAC-like rhetoric about a 30 year old UN resolution that even previous and much saner Israeli governments repeatedly defied and violated and which the current regime of indicted war criminals cannot therefore use as any kind of credible defense for their illegal acts. Even less relevant is some silly map AIPAC may claim to have from the Palestinian Authority. Since when do major American, European, and Asian mapmakers rely on political propaganda in order to draw lines on their maps ?

Near East History 101:

Begin made peace with Sadat in Egypt
Rabin made peace with Hussein in Jordan
Barak got Israel out of Lebanon successfully

Sharon and Arafat have accomplished nothing (although Arafat did get the Nobel Prize when he had Rabin to deal with).

Sharon and Arafat ARE demonstrably the issue and the main problem. (Even America's "worst president ever", George W. Bush, understands at least the second part of that reality). That is why knowlegable people from the field, such as Mr. Gordon above, often mention these disastrous old codgers by name. What is so hard to understand about some peoples sometimes having inept, counterproductive, murderous, borderline-senile leaders ?



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Stand where you think you must, Adam, but at least recognize the extremity and the bias in choosing to condemn countries all across the globe with language such as "erupting in hate", a phrase more typical of a Sharon propagandist, than the open-minded thinker which you normally are.

Civilized countries do not go around assassinating people.
While there CAN be extenuating circumstances, in some instances, probably Israel-Hamas among them, I am not interested in a self-serving statement by the bloody-handed government that committed such a murder.
Give me a link to Haaretz or some other openminded source and I'll take a look at it.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Adam, your student analogy fails utterly. Arafat ("student A") DID get along with Rabin. That is one reason why both got the Nobel Peace Prize (unless you want to claim, as some previous HNN posters have with a straight face, that the Norwegian Parliament is part of some great global anti-Semitic conspiracy, which Rabin therefore played into). Rabin would, furthermore, not have gone to Temple Mount to deliberately incite the (second) intifada as Sharon did (in order to dupe the Israeli populace into voting for his party).

Both "students" are problems and the U.S. government's ridiculous one-sided recognition of only one of those two problems is itself a big problem for America's security and national interest.

Your understanding of what happened in the 2000 talks is also at odds with the historical record, but we are too far afield from the original topic already.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


"many countries are, in fact, rather hostile to any serious effort of any type to combat terror attacks."

Is there any good evidence for this sweeping claim, Mr. Friedman ? Please cite any historical works (author, title, publication date) which come to such conclusions.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Hi Ephraim, Welcome to our little session of Near East History 101. Too bad there are hardly ever any real scholars of that area on HNN, but Mr. Gordon is a nice exception to the normal practice.

There is a much faster way to rid Israel of the war criminal prime minister who is ruining it (than your recommended indirect means of forcing out Arafat). Have an U.S. government that stops being Sharon's lackey. There is no need to force Israel to "revoke its right to elect its own leaders" even though that is, of course, essentially what Bush and his incompetent hypocrites have demanded of the Palestinians. (I would not have a problem with this policy were it applied evenhandedly to other peoples as well - it would be in the Palestinians' own best interest).

At the risk of voicing the unpleasant but obvious: How many Israeli Jews have to die before American Jews say: "Enough !" ? The longer Sharon stays in the worse off Israel will be. And an isolated neo-fascist Israel is not in Americans' or anyone else's interest, except perhaps the fanatical settlers which that disgraced leader panders to.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


"You will know when the Global War on Terror has ended when the barrier now under construction is taken down."



I don't think so. Terrorism has existed around the globae for millenia, and will likely for centuries to come. Even the Great Wall of China hasn't lasted that long. No, the wall will come down when it needs to be moved as part of a land for peace deal: the same deal, or a reasonable facsimile of that, which both sides could have had four years ago without all the casualties and without the American president saying "Stop it. I really mean it" but doing absolutely nothing concrete other than wobbling all over himself like jello whenever one of the two bloodthirsty maniacs over there says boo.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Ephraim, You are slipping from your usual attention. You seem to have skimmed my prior post rather hastily. I never spoke of "putting pressure" on Sharon, but rather the easier and more effective remedy of ceasing to give him carte blanche (more aid than any other foreign leader, more UN vetos than the rest of the world combined, etc. etc, etc, ad nausem).

As for your remark: "Nobody is demanding that the U.S. administration choose the Palestinians' leaders. They are only demanding the same political reforms demanded by the Palestinians themselves, as well as by the Europeans".

Well, yes, but it goes well beyond that. Bush and Colin Powell have said very publicly and very repeatedly (and very stupidly in the context of their boot-kissing of Sharon) that Arafat has to go, they will not meet him, or discuss issues with him, he is not acceptable partner for peace, etc.. (Refer to any reputable major newspaper for the past 3 years for details).

They wouldn't even have needed to have been evenhanded and to have said the same about Sharon (as true as it is in BOTH cases), they simply needed to not act as Sharon's tool. The historical record is clear: no prior American Administration ever acted so spinelessly, so incompetently , and so against the real interests of both Americans and Israelis by kowtowing to a foreign maniac.

I left out one detail from my prior post, though, when I noted that "an isolated neo-fascist Israel is not in Americans'or anyone else's interest, except perhaps the fanatical settlers which that disgraced leader panders to".

The slide into militaristic nihilism into which Sharon has been leading Israel is also very much in the interest of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda. His building of the wall (which he avoided doing for the first 3 years) and glacially slow exit from Gaza have only been undertaken under the pressure of losing his majority in the Knesset. That is why those who oppose Sharon, which includes many Israelis (but apparently no one here except Chris Pettit and me) need only a small boost, and an American Administration that had a clue about foreign affairs and traditional American policies in the Mideast would probably suffice (e.g. by no longer being Sharon's lap dogs).

Your proposed remedy of a couple of posts ago is thus just about 180 degrees off. The best way to get rid of Arafat would be to help the Israelis present Palestinian moderates with a negotiating counterpart who is not an arrogant, clumsy, and discredited war criminal.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

1. I agree that the UN has been biased against Israel (a bias 99% erased by U.S vetoes, however. I often wonder whether so many resolutions would be passed if it were not assumed that they would be automatically vetoed. There is probably a legitimate criticism to make about bureaucrats pushing paper simply to justify their employment). Usually, on HNN, however, statements about UN bias are taken immediately to an extreme, and used as arguments for Israel and the U.S. doing whatever the heck their current leaders feel like doing, and common sense, international law, and multilateral cooperation be damned. This old "ends justifies the means" thinking has generated hundreds of posts on HNN in the past. I don't believe either Adam or Arnold support such nonsense, so I have no further comment thereto.

2. While the relocation of European Jews after World War II surely could have been handled in a better way than it was, there is no prospect for undoing a Jewish State in the Mideast. We need instead to find better ways of helping it find peace with its neighbors and re-integration into the world community. Needless to say (except for the incredible bias of many commenters on this site, though not thankfully on this page), arguments that Israel must be allowed to take, without the slightest rebuke, whatever action its current prime minister pretends he needs to take for security reasons, as long as a single Palestinian still walks with earth with evil intentions, are ludicrous.

3. The fall of the Soviet bloc has had multiple implications. On the one hand, for example, it means that Arab states no longer get showered with assistance simply for being anti-American. It also means however, that Israel is no longer an automatic ally of the U.S. by virtue of being consistently opposed to our number 1 rival. (As I have said already the “war on terrorism” is a Rovian propaganda croc, our real antagonists today are specific groups such as Al Qaeda which are thriving thanks to the corrupt, counterproductive and miscalculated policies of Bush and Sharon). Both Arabs and Israelis have been slow to recognize the change in their underlying relations to the rest of the world, as a result of the collapse of the USSR.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


The Bush Administration's deceptive and delusive propaganda phrase "War on Terrorism" appears only in the all-too-typically distorting, sensationalizing, and wrongly-worded HNN headline plastered atop this article. A more accurate headline would be:

"Ariel Sharon's Defiance of the World Court Is Undermining the World's Defenses against Terrorism."

A more relevant headline (to a slightly different but more relevant article) would read:

"Ariel Sharon's Defiance of the World Court Is Undermining U.S. Security at U.S. Taxpayer Expense"



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


1. "It was only by ignoring the needs of local Arabs, creating arbitrary borders in making many of these states, and refusing to prevent the breakout of all out war that the international community let all sides down."

That was basically what I meant by saying "could have been handled in a better way". One might also note that not all Jewish and Arab (especially) leaders behaved in a exemplary fashion in 1947-48.

2. "A shared culture" and "shared values", are worthy but not automatic qualities for an ally. Old Regime France fit neither criterion but was a crucial ally in 1781. It clearly had both in 2003 but refused to accept Bush's lies, although one could say that a true ally is willing to point out to its partner when it is making a great mistake. Most Israeli people would probably be ready to listen to an American president, not criticizing them, but encouraging them to return to their older and more noble traditions of tolerance, compromise, and farsightedness. What we need is an American president who cares about America's national and foreign policy interests first, international cooperation to promote those interests second, specific individual traditional foreign partners and friends such as Israel third, and not about winning 51% of the swing states by slamming any and all critics, in an effort to deny to himself his own miserable failures.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


A lot of ground was covered with conviction by Arnold above, and I agree with both the general thrust and the specific (and I think highly relevant) point about Iraq being a victim of international discrimination. Has the U.N. ever passed a resolution calling on Israel to disarm its weapons of mass destruction ? Mind you, I don't think that exactly the same set of rules need to apply to democracies and dictatorships, but there ought to at least a recognition that consistency and lack of hypocrisy are desirable goals.

I think my only disagreement with Arnold is that I see a bigger difference between Bush & Sharon on the one hand, and their predecessors on the other, and I think the historical record backs such a distinction, and I therefor see considerable value in returning long-standing tradtional policies such as land for peace in the Mideast, limits on extra-judicial state killings, and an America that is a leader for peace and international cooperation (like Camp David and Kyoto) and which views war as a last not a first resort (as in Yugoslavia).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Arnold has a point, N.

For the amount of commentary you throw out you could bother to do a bit more homework. It requires no knowledge of history but only of still current events, for example, to be aware that the U.S. (under the foolish and incompetent current administration) not only "stood up against" but insulted France, Germany, Canada, and many other friendly democracies around the world in its shameful perversion of U.N. resolutions in the mad rush to invade Iraq in early 2003.

Not that I don't think some of those foreign leaders deserved a kick in the behind, but to browbeat the U.N. into launching a hasty and ill-planned war under false pretenses is not a stunt that can be repeated for a long time. Some much sooner day than that we may really truly need to launch a preemptive strike of some kind, and then the arrogant and hypocritical foolishness and incompetence of the Bush Administration in squandering America's international goodwill may really hurt OUR country.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Adam, your comments are reasonable but miss the points.

1. Most of us, even on this unruly website, know that "Israel" is the third rail of American politics. Touch it, even evenhandedly like Howard Dean, and you die. Apologists for Sharon hide behind this convenient absurdity in order to avoid accountability for the disaster wrought on both Israel and America by that particular renegade ruler who, in a not so distant past era, before Israel "lost its moral compass", was effectively banished from government in that now unfortunate and increasingly despised country because of his past war crimes (now surpassed by his more recent horrors). Hamas could not have hoped for a better recruiting tool. Your general observation about how journalists lazily use the name of country when they really mean its government, is a valid observation, but that does not mean that we have to accept such imprecision, especially when there is deliberately deceptive and dangerous agenda behind it.

2. It makes no sense to talking about "ending" terrorism - you might as well talk about ending the common cold, or ending lying by politicians running for reselection. Unless, that is, one is a politician running for reselection BY using a Big Lie like "War on Terrorism".
I know you personally were only being imprecise without any negative motives of that sort at all, but such imprecision is what the Bush administration thrives on, and I would think that you would prefer not to play into their deceptive game.

3. The actions of the U.S. are key to the success of the international institutions; a fortunate/unfortunate/inescapable reality of geopolitics.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/10/2004

So Mr. Freidman, you hid behind the ideological lying rhetoric instead of taking on my challenge.
Why? You obviously are not risking with anything except
of the promise to declare that you were wrong publicly.
Then again: if you know for a fact, if you are 100% sure,
as you clearly are, that you are right and I'm wrong, then you don't risk even the latter embarrasment.
On the other hand I'm risking my $1000 (considerable amount of money, don't you think?
So what are afraid of, Mr. Freidman?
I challenge your wife as well: first what city or town
in former Soviet Union she lived in and when (what years)
and what was her age when she left the country?
And can she name me, say, just five Soviet Jews who was
lynched, i.e. killed by the mob of Soviet citizens (that was lynching was/is all about isn't it?), like it happened to hundreds of blacks in this country. In exchange I name for her and you five African Americans that were lynched back then.
Provided it was a big city (since I might not be able to find former Jewish residents here, if it was some small town) I'll find for you and her not one but several people living here, in the US, who used to live in the same city and would be willing to tell you the real story of the situation with Jews there.
I specifically don't want to tell you what that situation was, because you obviously don't trust a word of mine, despite I'm a Jew myself, I lived there for 43(!) years
and was persecuted by KGB, and I even told you that I myself was affected by anti-semitism there.
I have been living here, in the US for more than 15 years by now, all my close relatives live here as well (and there are 10 of them altogether), my other relatives
now live in Israel, dozen of my friends whom I knew there, In the Soviet Union live here too.
Besides I met and talked to probably 5 dozens of other Jews - former Soviet citizens on all topics, including (and a lot) the anti-semitism back there.
None of them, and I mean - not a single one - has ever told me that the rocks had been thrown at their heads, or
that they saw or even heard that there were "routine
lynchings" of Jews either by goverment or the private Soviet citizens. Again I and all those Jewish and non-Jewish folks can testify in the court under oath that we didn't hear or see anything like that.
Moreover, pretty much all of those Jewish folks I know about, lived there OVER the AVERAGE living standards the
of Russians themselves lived in. It is true: those standards were, in general, lower than they were at the same period of time, say, here, in the USA or in the most developed countries of the world (like Great Britain or France, or West Gremany), but to say that they "lived
like dogs", is as true, as to say that the racism against Jews in the US at the end of 40s-early-50s was worse than it was in Nazi Germany.
Let me give you some facts from the lives of my relatives, the facts that I challenge any ideologue, left or right, any Soveitologist to argue with me.
Mind you: they were not some outstanding figures or talents, just pretty much average Jews in the former
USSR. My parents, whom I used to live with, had, what we call here, one bedroom apartment (living room, bedroom, kitchen and a bathroom) in the new building in the city of Alma-Ata, capital of Kazahk Soviet Republic. It is true they received that apartment from the City Government after renting one room and a kitchen apartment in the private house for more than 20 years, but that happened to dozens of millions of others and even more to Russians and Kazahks themselves than to Jews, Ukranians and Georgians, i.e. - no racism there.
Now, that apartment wasn't large by some high standards,
but I bet you all money in the world that today (not forty years ago) I see many, many apartments in the New York City where I currently reside that are even smaller and in the very old buildings and they are being rented
for several thousands dollars a month.
My parents paid 11 roubles a month for that new apartment
in the course of all 20 years they lived there - no increase!
Now, to give you an idea whether it was much or not, I
can tell you that the average salary of the Soviet industrial workers and office employees (that is - of the overwhelming majority of the population) was that time (1965-1985) about 185 roubles (from 150 - in 1965 to 220
- in 1985) a month.
My mother was a house-wife (last time she worked was from
1941 to 1945), so there was just one provider in our family - my father, who had only seasonal work ( he didn't have higher education) approximately 5 months a year, working as a deliver person for the Middle Asian kolkhozes that grew fruits and vegetables to the Far East of Russia made enough money to support the family of five.
My parents had three children: besides me, my older brother and the older sister.
Noone of us, except during the WWII period, had ever experienced hunger or cold or malnutrition.
My older brother became Ph.D in technology, my sister
(after graduating the pedagogical institute with BS in Physics - a secondary school Physics teacher.
I graduated from the Kazahk State University with equivalent of the US MS in Physics, and might have gotten Ph.D, but was persecuted by KGB, falsely accused and thrown into labor camp.
Of my closest childhood Jewish (I had many Russian friends, as well) friends Jakob, whose father coincidentally was a professor at the Kazahk polytechnical
institute, also became a phycisist gradutaing from the NovoSiberian University; later he got Ph.D
in Applied Physics, as well.
My other Jewish friend - Semyon, who now lives in Israel,
working as the physico-medical researcher there and whose parents were as common people as were mine, also became Ph.D. in the Soviet Union. He, as the other dozens of thousands of former Jewish Soviet citizens with the higher
education and scientific degrees have good paying jobs here and in Israel only because they came here already as highly educated men and women, professionals in their respective fields.
I went through immigration, meeting dozens of Soviet Jews
from Ukraine, BelloRussia, Russia, Baltic Republics, etc.
Let me tell to all American liers: that is was essentually the intellectual and social elite of the Soviet society. In no other country, in the world, except
Israel (and there again - thanks to the Soviet emigration) the Jews has accounted for such a high relative percentage of people with higher education and higher paid jobs than in the former Soviet Union.
That is the fact I can prove to any more or less objective
human being, provided they want to listen to the facts, instead of anecdotal rumors and zoological Communist haters.
One cannot remain an unbiased observer or historian, if
they discard everything good, just because there were a lot of bad. And that is exactly what the great majority
of the American "intellectuals" do, as soon as they hear
the word 'Red', or even - 'anti-American'.
It is well known that average Soviet Jew(minority) had higher lifestyle than the average Soviet Russian or Ukranian(majority), the same as the average American Jew
has higher lifestyle than the average non-Jewish white
American. It is not to say, that those lifestyles didn't differ a lot; but then again how can anyone make 'legitimate' comparison of such a rich country as the US was/is with a poor country as the USSR was.
There is a whole lot of capitalist, non-communist countries that this country counts as 'democratic' out there where ordinary folks lived and still live in much worse conditions overall than in the former Soviet Union. But somehow noone compares them with the
former Soviet Republics (or blames their "ruling methods" for the woes of common folks there) though they had immesurably closer ethnical, historical and economical national history to the former Soviet nationalities than
the American national one.
For example, why don't you guys compare the average living standards of the Turkish folks with the respective
standards of the Soviet Uzbekistanian citizen back in 70s?
I'll tell you why. Because, that comparison would not only reveal the significant Uzbekistanian advantage, but would also highlighted the invalidity of the US-USSR-like comparisons.

Briefly, about some other of your allegations or arguments. After all that I heard from you lately, I'm hardly surprised to find that in the one-dimensional mind like yours there can be only one reason for people to live their country for the US: "real oppression".
Are French or Italian people, those who became American citizens recently, had been "really oppressed" in France and in Italy, respectively? Are British or Germans or Austrian or Swedish, or Spaniards, or Portugese recent immigrants were "really oppressed" in their countries of origin? I can name you a bunch of other ethnical groups
and nationalities that combined for larger immigration number to the US than Russian Jews, adn which came from considered to be democratic countries, where they actually had not been oppressed ideologically or socially, or politically.
Now, the question remains: why they came here?
Well, about 80%(for Western immgrants - 100%) of them came here in pursuit of so-called American dream for themselves, and especially for their young children, i.e. mainly on purely material reason.
I'm not saying that there is something wrong in it, but
you have to admit that there is a long way from this reason to "real oppression" one.
All of them , however, desperately wanted to receive
initial refugee status, adn you cannot get that one here,
without presenting a "persecution" and "real oppression" events occured in the country you were trying escape from.
So, I guess one can easily figure out what would such desperate folks, who had not been oppressed to any "real" degree, do, and what they actually did (and I know it for a fact): they cooked up those stories for American and Jewish immigration authoriites.
Now, again, there were among those immigrants some
folks, so-called 'disidents': "otkazniks", critics of
the Soviet "ruling methods", so-called "ideologically unloyal" folks, etc. who had been actually persecuted and even prosecuted (though not lynched), as I was, by the Soviet authorities on trump-up charges and for anti-Soviet
activity.
Those there, of course, people who really deserved refugee
status, by its very definition. But the percentage of that category was tiny. The best actual and may be deserving some attention of immigration authorities reason
that the rest of adults had was that once in their life
they were denied job promotion allegedly on the account of their Jewishness.
Can we speak about horror of "real oppression" in such
incidents, again, far from all of which occured in reality, I leave for others to decide...

There were two short periods in the Soviet history when
the state promoted anti-semistism: one over the accusation
to a couple dozen of Jewish doctors and nurses that they were plotting to poison J.Stalin, and second one when
Soviet Jews began massive emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Neither one of these episodes provoked "routine lynchings" of Jews around the country.
Again, if you know otherwise, give me concrete evidence/examples, like those I presented here regarding my relatives and friends that can be substantiated any time, not your wive's "whistling of rocks" around her head, which, I submit, sound very much like those ones I mentioned regarding refugee status eligibility.

Now, about the "prejudice directed against Africans".
Was there a prejudice? Yes it was, and I never said there were existed no prejudices about Africans, and black race, in general, in the former USSR.
But, first of all, those were vastly different kinds of prejudices than they were and still are in much lesser
measure though, in this country.
Those were, by large, the prejudices out of unfamiliarity with black race, like one very common, dated by the time black folks, primarily higher education students, started arriving to different Republics of the Soviet Union; the one I remember very well: some, especially poorly culturally, ignorant common folks would jokingly ask each other whether they could dirty (not in moral, but in physical sense) their hands if they shake black person's hand.
But major cause, not a prejudice, of light resentment
some (meager minority) of common folks felt towards the African students was the presumption, in some cases, the right one, in some - the wrong one, that only students with rich (comparingly to average Soviet citizen)parents could afford travels abroad and the higher education tuition, that was free for their Soviet counterparts.
I would like to mention one more, it seems to me very telling, source of the latter prejudice: many Soviet citizens felt that the authorities treated foreigners, in general, not just Africans, much better than they treated their own people, which was actually true.
Now, can prejudices cause social, economic, political and any other kind of injustice against the object of the prejudices? You bet they can and they did/do in many countries!
Can they cause violence, violent crimes, including lynching (illegal killing by the mob) against the object of prejudice? You bet they can and they did/do in some countries!
Was the former USSR one of those countries?
No and thousands times no!
Can anyone tell me a single story when African was deprived of his job or expelled from the higher education institution, or was tried in criminal court in the USSR or whose human rights were violated, in general, for essentially just being an Agrican, a person with a black skin, as it would "routinely", indeed, happen in this country's history?
I bet you, not!
One might say, come on! You mean to tell us that there had not been any incidents when hoodlums attacked a black
person, just because they didn't like how he looked or behaved.
No, I'm not saying and I'ver never said this.
The Soviet Union was by large the biggest country in the world by territory, and the second biggest by multi-ethnicity of its population (after the USA.)
Therefore, one has to be totally out touch with reality
to not realize that the incidents, similar to the mentioned last were bound to happen.
Moreover, I personally aware of at the least two-three
of such incidents (when a bunch of drunk young Russians,
Ukranians instigated violent intercursions with young Africans, all those times because of mutual interest to
the females. Over one of those incidents an African student was killed.
And there were of course more episodes like that, though
only a very few with a lethal outcome.
But, can those random, rare, and absolutely non-ideological episodes of simple criminal behaviour of the drunk-high-testosterone-males be really characterized as the more or less wide-spread, habitual racism around the nation?
Then again: may be in a schisophrenically-anti-Soviet mind they can...

The resume for every unbiased person who cares about the facts, not about ideological prejudices, is simple and obvious: the prejudices (and of completely different and much more innocent kind) - yes,
the racism - no!

You also mentioned that some Soviet elite lived like
Saudi Arabia or other authoritartian regime's princes.
Now, you didn't specify what particular elite you meant:
was it the Politburea members, or/and the members of the Central Committee of the Communist party, or/and the deputies of the Supreme Soviet, or/and the ministers,
or/and the directors of the big factories and industrial
complexes. Therefore, I present any more or less specific
response on the latter issue.
Just let me know, whether you want to know the truth
who was who, so say.


N. Friedman - 10/7/2004

Arnold,

1. "What statistical facts (that can be easily verified facts) would YOU consider as the more or less solid evidence that the Jews or Blacks or Asians had not been exposed to racism in the former USSR on either social, political or ideological level, and that "routine lynchings" of Jews you fantasized about was not a fact of life of the Soviet Jews?"

I need no statistics on this subject. 1 million people did not leave that country for the fun of it. As I said, I have first hand knowledge on this topic.


Again, my wife and her entire family - a rather large group - now lives in the US. What I wrote before is quite accurate. And as you know fulll well, there are no truly reliable or accurate statistics from the former USSR - a country of "yes" men and women - and, if you are really from that country, you would know that such is the case.

As I said, my wife regularly had rocks thrown at her head. There was prejudice directed against Africans. There were lynchings on a regular basis. And there were phoney elections.

In any event, the reality is that 1 million people risked much to get out of that horror of a country. I trust you understand that they did not leave for adventure or the fun of it but to escape real oppression. If you do not, you are a fool or stupid.

I agree that we do not have the same definition for democracy. However, I do not think your definition is even logical on its own terms.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/7/2004

Mr. Friedman,

Honestly, I just glanced at your last response to my arguments, but didn't finish reading it, so hugely ignorant it was.
Since I know that no arguments coming from any authority
or sources make folks like change their totally false
notions on any subject, I want to ask you a question:
What statistical facts (that can be easily verified facts) would YOU consider as the more or less solid evidence that the Jews or Blacks or Asians had not been exposed to racism in the former USSR on either social, political or ideological level, and that "routine lynchings" of Jews you fantasized about was not a fact of life of the Soviet Jews?
If I (who is by the way is a Jew myself, and had lived in the Soviet Union for 42 years and was persecuted by the KGB, though not for being a Jew) can provide you such FACTS, not anecdotes and sayings, would you publicly
admit on these boards that you were grossly misinformed
about the situation in question?
On the other hand, if you submit me such statistical figures that became the possession of the wide public(
declassified after the fall of communism in
Russia and its republics) to show the opposite I'll pay
you $1000.
You see you won't depart with any money, even if you loose, just - may be - with your ignorance;
I, on the other token, put my money where my mouth is,
apparently risking it.
Don't you find this porposition exciting enough, provided
you are sure you are right?

As far, as your position on the rasism, equality, and democracy is concerned, it stands no critique at all,
since every child knows that what Americans and political scientists call democracy goes far beyond "the method of ruling", it includes the summary of govermental, economic, and social societal structures
and the pertaining laws. Therefore, I refrain from the further discussion with you on the democracy issues;
one can't argue against false AXIOMS - that's why they are called axioms.


N. Friedman - 10/5/2004

Arnold,

1. "But, legally and formally, Soviet regime was the best in the history of the world for different nationalities and races resided there: on paper it claimed equality in all spheres of social, economic, and political life, their independence of the national majority, freedom of religion, professional occupation and creative expression, and so on and so forth. More of that there were actually no pogroms, or lynching, or such massive socially-economic inequality, as has existed (and still does) here, in USA. The other issue is the measures that status quo was maintained by. But legally and formally, everything was actually much better than here back then."

I actually know quite a bit about the USSR. My wife was born and raised in the USSR. You have no idea what you are talking about.

In that wonderful land of the USSR, my wife had, on a regular basis, rocks thrown at her head for being Jewish. There were, in fact, lynchings and they occurred on a regular basis. Such, plus substantial discrimination, is why Jews left the country anyway they could manage.

Further, as any black person who has spent any real time in the USSR can tell you, the Soviet Union was among the most racist countries on Earth. Which is to say, the typical Soviet man-on-the-street opinion was that blacks are inately inferior savages.

I note that officially, as my mother in law says, there never were any fires in the Soviet Union due to the superiority of Soviet engineering but in the actual Soviet Union - the one you know nothing about - there were at least as many fires as anywhere else.

There was also massive social inequality. A small clique, akin in size to the clique that rules Saudi Arabia, lived like royalty (or, in my wife's words, they had "communism" already) while most other people lived like dogs.

In fact, the average Soviet had next to nothing by the standards of poor African-Americans in the US. My wife has told me of interviews shown on Soviet TV of African-Americans. To the average American, the person looked poor. To the average Soviet, the person looked incredibly rich to the extent that the typical Soviet would wonder why the African American was complaining.

Your notion of the Soviet Union as formally and legally a democracy is nuts. What they had were "elections" in which the results were actually, not metaphorically, decided before the election to the extent that voting for the wrong person could land you in a gulag. As such, 99+% would vote for the official candidate. Some democracy!

Which is to say, the Soviet Union was not a democracy, was not a tolerant country but, instead, was racist and antisemitic country that cared not one iota for its people.

2. "Now, the natural question arises: can the PRACTICALLY rasist state be called 'democratic'? (And it was called 'democratic' even long time before 60s.) Highly debatable issue, don't you think?

No, I think you are mistaken. I think democracy is a method for ruling. A racist country might be a democracy or it might not. Such depends on the policy of the government.

3. "Secondly, democracy is the power of majority for all the people, isn't it?
Is this the situation in the USA?"

Again, I disagree with you. I think democracy is a method for ruling. Inequality, thus far, is unfortunately a part of the human condition. A country might be social democratic like Sweden or like Israel used to be and be a democracy or be rather unequal as the US on and off is yet still be a democracy.


Which is to say, I think your model to understand democracy makes no sense at all.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/5/2004

OK,
I'll just give you few reasons why I can named this country 'democracy' only with stipulations and a significant amount of hesitation.

Fist of all, historically speaking, up to late 60s- early 70s, this was to a great degree a rasist country.
Now you might tell me that it wasn't a constitutional, just social rasism of the free society. And legally and
formally this will be true. But, legally and formally,
Soviet regime was the best in the history of the world
for different nationalities and races resided there:
on paper it claimed equality in all spheres of social, economic, and political life, their independence of the national majority, freedom of religion, professional occupation and creative expression, and so on and so forth. More of that there were actually no pogroms, or lynching, or such massive socially-economic inequality,
as has existed (and still does) here, in USA. The other
issue is the measures that status quo was maintained by.
But legally and formally, everything was actually much
better than here back then.
Now, the natural question arises: can the PRACTICALLY rasist state be called 'democratic'? (And it was called 'democratic' even long time before 60s.) Highly debatable issue, don't you think?

Secondly, democracy is the power of majority for all the people, isn't it?
Is this the situation in the USA?
Let's see... Financial and economic power is a backbone
of the national power, in general, isn't it?
Whose hands it is concentrated in? The hands of majority?
Alas - in the hands of 20% of the population of this country, not the rest 80%.
The same is about political power, despite the apparently
democratic electorial process.
The road to highest political posts are practically (to be exact - financially) closed for average income folks and the same is true for the representatives of any other party, except two ruling ones: Republicans and Democrats. Aside of the fierce resistance on the part of the ruling parties, other parties cannot afford neither the cosmic high costs of political advertising and wide campaigns, TV and radio time, the financially-murderous demands of local governments, etc. therefore receiving
an insultingly small percentage of coverage in mass-media making them, to the great degree, invisible to the
wide auditorium of the American voters.
You call this situation 'democratic process'? Well, I certainly don't.
Justice system is openly rigged in favor of rich folks.
Take, eg. bail system. If you don't have enough money
to pay the bail, ruled by a judge, rot in prison waiting
for the trial; and on many occasions it is a long wait.
Meanwhile your rich counterparts enjoy the freedom and
the luxuries of their home and normal life, simultaneously dealing with the better lawyers and
influencing witnesses, if any.
It is no surprise that statistically rich folks are much
less frequently eventually put in jail for the same crimes than the poor ones.
I could continue with miriad of other factual examples,
but have some business to take care of right now.


N. Friedman - 10/5/2004

Arnold,

Thank you for the information about France. For purposes of argument, I shall take your account at face value. Before I address your comment, please re-read what I wrote in my last comment. I shall repeat it:

"I amend my initial position by saying that the US generally and typically does not stand against democracies."

"Nor should the US do so."

Is that clear enough for you? Which is to say you are mischaracterizing my position.

With respect to communists in government issue, the Germans do not allow neo-Nazis or any other strip of Nazi to participate in the government. It would seem to me that keeping Nazi like influences out of government is rather pro-democratic. Do you disagree?

Consider, the communists, so far as I can discern, are not all that much different from Nazis. With that in mind, it might it be argued that the US effort to keep communists from governing in democracies such as France was very much pro-democratic. Note: I am not saying that such is my view. However, I think the matter is sufficiently arguable and possible that the US might, with rather decent respect for democratic institutions, do whatever it can to keep communists out of power in the part of the world where such anti-democratic philosophy has, as you assert, fairly widespread support.

Such, you will note, would support my theory that the US stands with democracies. (Please insert the word "generally" or "usually" or both before the word "stands" so that my meaning is clear to you.)


Arnold Shcherban - 10/5/2004

OK,
I'll just give you few reasons why I can named this country 'democracy' only with stipulations and a significant amount of hesitation.

Fist of all, historically speaking, up to late 60s- early 70s, this was to a great degree a rasist country.
Now you might tell me that it wasn't a constitutional, just social rasism of the free society. And legally and
formally this will be true. But, legally and formally,
Soviet regime was the best in the history of the world
for different nationalities and races resided there:
on paper it claimed equality in all spheres of social, economic, and political life, their independence of the national majority, freedom of religion, professional occupation and creative expression, and so on and so forth. More of that there were actually no pogroms, or lynching, or such massive socially-economic inequality,
as has existed (and still does) here, in USA. The other
issue is the measures that status quo was maintained by.
But legally and formally, everything was actually much
better than here back then.
Now, the natural question arises: can the PRACTICALLY rasist state be called 'democratic'? (And it was called 'democratic' even long time before 60s.) Highly debatable issue, don't you think?

Secondly, democracy is the power of majority for all the people, isn't it?
Is this the situation in the USA?
Let's see... Financial and economic power is a backbone
of the national power, in general, isn't it?
Whose hands it is concentrated in? The hands of majority?
Alas - in the hands of 20% of the population of this country, not the rest 80%.
The same is about political power, despite the apparently
democratic electorial process.
The road to highest political posts are practically (to be exact - financially) closed for average income folks and the same is true for the representatives of any other party, except two ruling ones: Republicans and Democrats. Aside of the fierce resistance on the part of the ruling parties, other parties cannot afford neither the cosmic high costs of political advertising and wide campaigns, TV and radio time, the financially-murderous demands of local governments, etc. therefore receiving
an insultingly small percentage of coverage in mass-media making them, to the great degree, invisible to the
wide auditorium of the American voters.
You call this situation 'democratic process'? Well, I certainly don't.
Justice system is openly rigged in favor of rich folks.
Take, eg. bail system. If you don't have enough money
to pay the bail, ruled by a judge, rot in prison waiting
for the trial; and on many occasions it is a long wait.
Meanwhile your rich counterparts enjoy the freedom and
the luxuries of their home and normal life, simultaneously dealing with the better lawyers and
influencing witnesses, if any.
It is no surprise that statistically rich folks are much
less frequently eventually put in jail for the same crimes than the poor ones.
I could continue with miriad of other factual examples,
but have some business to take care of right now.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/5/2004

You probably didn't read the rest of my previous comments, though lengthy ones, but very educational in regards to your notion that this country always stands for democracies, i.e. power of the majority for the majority.
Now, to give you one more example of the democracy (besides Chile) to totally defeat your notion of the nobility of the US foreign policy, I remind you about
poltical events in France of 1948. That time the new
elected president appointed a new prime-minister, who
in its turn according to a French constitution formed
the Ministers' Council. As French Communist Party became
hugely popular among population of France for its leadership and sacrifice in the Resistance movement and at that time also headed a number of the provincial goverments in France, the prime-minister gave some minister posts to communist representatives. Immediately, the US organized fierce anti-French campaign in the American mass-media and applied tremendous diplomatic pressure to French President and prime-minister to revert their decision on
the part of the ministers-communists. The calls were
made to use military force of the US occupation troops
dislocated in France in case the diplomatic pressure
wouldn't work. Finally, despite the active protests of millions of French, the communists were removed from the goverment.
Whatever, you think about communists, in general, and communists in government, in particular, you cannot deny one thing: the US actions in that matter were not only anti-democratic, but constituted rude interference into internal affairs of the democratic country, that on top of that was its military and political ally.


N. Friedman - 10/5/2004

Dear Arnold,

Thank you for the list of countries. Whether or not any of them were democracies at the time of alleged US interference is another matter. As I previously wrote, Chile might have been. Most, if not all, of the rest may have had something called an election at some point but were not democracies.

Notwithstanding my scorn for your reference to pseudo-democracies as if they were real democracies, please do not confuse me with someone who favors trampling on people's rights whether or not the government is, by my simple-minded definition, a democracy.

You might add Israel - a real democracy - on your theory of US interference as, in fact, the US sought to affect the election results in the early 1990's in favor of Rabin. Then again, some in the US accuse Israel of interfering in the 1992 election to get rid of the last President Bush. Which is to say, there is interference and then there is interference.

I amend my initial position by saying that the US generally and typically does not stand against democracies.

Nor should the US do so.

1. "Besides, as I emphasized that before, I don't think your notion of democracy is the same as mine. For example, I can name this country's social-economic and political structure 'a democracy' only along with numerous and lenghty stipulations. (Though I do recognize it is much closer to democratic than many other structures around the world.)"

I'm a simple-minded guy. Tell me what you have in mind so that I might become enlightened.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/4/2004

Mr. Friedman,

To my dissapointment you didn't receive the most part
of my last comments where I gave you chronological and
detailed account of the US actions in Greece, Iran, and
Chile, well-documented by the people of these countries, international community and by the American journalists and political analysts, including the "revelations" of the high American officals involved.
So, I have to do it here in much more compressed form.
In Greece, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama this country (in some cases accompanied by the UK) used all legal and illegal means available to undermine the democratically elected goverments from economic sanctions, covert operations and mass-terror by proxy by sponsoring and training squads of murderers and terrorists and murderous goverments' troops to direct invasion and overthrowing the democratically elected government under trump-up accusations or the accusations that can be easily applied to American political leaders, as well.
Mind you the mentioned actions have been condemned by
the overwhelming majority of world community, in some cases by the OAS state-members too, which as any
observer with even ADD knows routinely goes along
with the US.
And don't worry, Mr. Friedman, since I'm sure you know at least some of those facts very well and since Im trying to becomne a true American, i.e. operate within your American traditional approach - by perception, I would be a fool, if I were trying to prove
them to you.
I know plenty of folks that never acknowledge anything
that they just don't want to acknowledge, despite any
kind of evidence.
Besides, as I emphasized that before, I don't think your
notion of democracy is the same as mine.
For example, I can name this country's social-economic
and political structure 'a democracy' only along with numerous and lenghty stipulations.
(Though I do recognize it is much closer to democratic
than many other structures around the world.)


N. Friedman - 10/4/2004

Mr. Shcherban

1. "I believe, any more or less educated person would understand that the main pathos of the last remark was
double-forked: first that the US always stands with democracies, and second that it never stands against democracies."

I believe my remark stated what it wrote, not what you restated it as.

2. "There are so many and well-known examples that both of these assertions are false, that I wanted to relegate the burden of rebunk on someone else. But since practically noone decided to take on the task, and"

The one really good example of my point - not your point, which raises a different issue - I can think of regards Chile which clearly had a democracy. Even there, serious questions have been raised regarding nature of the then elected government and its efforts to undo freedom of the press, among other freedoms, which suggest the likely possibility of an end to the democracy in any event. None the less, such is certainly an example for your point of view.

I shall conceed that my point requires some degree of restatement but not a real change in substance.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/4/2004

Peter,
I must stand by my statement. When Israel killed the leader of Hamas, and then the next leader of Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of many innocent people (including Palestinians, if one blames them for the inevitable Israeli retaliation, which I do), the UN immidiately responded with passionate condemnation and additional GA resolutions against it. The link I offered was the Israel UN representative's response to those resolutions.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/3/2004

Mr. Friedman,

<Which democracies has the US ever really stood up against? Name them.>

First of all, by this question you skillfully retuned the thrust of the initial issue, that I responded to, which was, as I want to remind you again, the folowing:
<"Israel is an ally of the US because it is a democracy. That does not mean the countries have to be in a military alliance but the US always stands with democracies. Such is unlikely to change anytime soon.">

I believe, any more or less educated person would understand that the main pathos of the last remark was
double-forked: first that the US always stands with democracies, and second that it never stands against democracies.

There are so many and well-known examples that both of these assertions are false, that I wanted to relegate the
burden of rebunk on someone else. But since practically
noone decided to take on the task, and on top of that you challeged me to name just one, I'll do it, giving you not one, but several. Mind you, I have much more
under my sleeve, in case you would like to listen.

However, first we have to agree on some terminology, and
most of all, what we call 'democracy'.
Now I prefer to use the literal definition: power of the people, for the people. To be even more precise: power
and control of the majority of the population - the definition supported by overwhelming majority of intellectuals and educated people.
I hope you agree with me on that one, and so I proceed taking on your notion:

1) In 1941-1942 the People's Liberation Army (ELAS) (unfortunately for Greek people, founded by the communists) was instrumental in driving Nazis from the country. One out of seven million Greeks some one or two million ultimately voluntarily joined the political wing of the Greek Communist Party, EAM.
1944: British military arrives and installs a government composed of monarchists, quislings (those who sold out their own people to the Nazis), and conservatives were placed in power--particularly among the reconstituted Greek army and police. EAM/ELAS members were imprisoned and/or killed. Fighting breaks out between ELAS and the British and their collaborationist Greek clients.
1945: ELAS agrees to an armistice. It is believed that Winston Churchill's October 1944 agreement with Josef Stalin regarding "spheres of influence" may have had a role in this. Churchill went on the record as saying:
[Stalin] "adhered strictly and faithfully to our agreement of October, and during all the long weeks of fighting the Communists in the streets of Athens not one word of reproach came from Pravda or Izvestia."
Greece becomes, as noted by Professor D.F. Fleming, cold war historian, "that Greece was the first of the liberated states to be openly and forcibly compelled to accept the political system of the occupying Great Power. It was Churchill who acted first and Stalin who followed his example, in Bulgaria and then in Rumania, though with less bloodshed."
(Very telling historical fact, don't you think? Also,
notice, that it is UK that was the US closest ideological, political and military ally, obviously - not the Soviet Union. A.S.)
1946: Greek leftists take to the hills to escape the violence perpetrated by a succession of brutal, thoroughly corrupt right-wing regimes (supported by the US and Britain, of course). Quotes CBS European correspondent Howard K. Smith on observing these "acceptable" governments, "There are few modern parallels for government as bad as this."
1947: Britain, still saddled with its own postwar reconstruction, cites its inability to continue to provide massive military and economic "aid" to the Greek regime and appeals to the US to handle the situation.
The State Department summoned the Greek chargé d'affaires, informing him that the Greek government was to ask the US for aid. He was to draft a formal letter of request--this letter was, in fact, largely written by the State Department. It was designed to protect the US against charges that it was taking the initiative in intervening in a foreign state.
Secretary of State George Marshall says (without irony) later that year:
"It is possible that during your stay in Greece you and the Ambassador will come to the conclusion that the effectiveness of your Mission would be enhanced if a reorganization of the Greek government could be effected. If such a conclusion is reached, it is hoped that you and the Ambassador will be able to bring about such a reorganization indirectly through discreet suggestion and otherwise in such a manner that even the Greek political leaders will have the feeling that the reorganization has been effected largely by themselves and not by pressure from without."
Summer of 1947: First major shipments of US military assistance arrives (although US government did ship large quantities of military equipment to the Greek government during the British phase of the takeover).
By year's end the Greek military is being entirely equipped by the US, even down to clothing and food. The Greek military consequently ballooned in size, including fighter-bombers, transport squadrons, recoilless rifles, naval patrol ships, napalm bombs, docks, railways, communications networks, bridges, roads...what amounted to hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars going to Greek military supplies and equipment--this would increase to nearly a billion dollars in total since war's end! Millions more dollars were spent to create a "Secret Army Reserve" made up of "ex-"members of Nazi Security Battalions!
US military personnel took over command of the Greek military, effectively determining policy and strategy for them!
"All military training methods and programs were 'revised, revitalized and tightened up' under American supervision(21)... infantry units made more mobile, with increased firepower; special commando units trained in anti-guerrilla tactics; training in mountain warfare ... at American insistence, whole sections of the population uprooted to eliminate the guerrillas' natural base of operations and source of recruits...(p. 37)
From 1947 on, the US effectively controlled Greece. According to Andreas Papandreou, "In the economic sphere," [the United States] "exercised almost dictatorial control during the early fifties requiring that the signature of the chief of the U.S. Economic Mission appear alongside that of the Greek Minister of Co-ordination on any important documents."
A memo from the American Mission to Aid Greece (in Athens) to the State Department in Washington from November 17, 1947 said:
"we have established practical control ... over national budget, taxation, currency issuance, price and wage policies, and state economic planning, as well as over imports and exports, the issuance of foreign exchange and the direction of military reconstruction and relief expenditures."
1949: After three years of bloody civil war, and at the loss of tens of thousands of its people to the American-trained and equipped Greek fascist forces, the Greek leftists announced a "cease fire".
1950s: Greece's people's uprising had been effectively squashed, and Greece was now entirely within the American "sphere of influence", one of what would be many "client" nations whose only mission was unquestioning obedience to US policy directives. American-style "democracy" won again!

2) from 1953 an up - Iran.
When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, his administration had one overriding foreign policy objective: to keep the Soviet Union from gaining influence and possibly drawing countries away from the U.S. orbit. To that end, Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, crafted a policy the primary principle of which was the impossibility of neutrality in the cold war. In the Dulles world view, there was no such thing as an independent course; a country was either with the United States or against it. That principle helps explain much of the Eisenhower administration's conduct in the Middle East, for if there was one region in which the United States strove to prevent what it called Soviet penetration, it was the Middle East.
The earliest direct U.S. involvement occurred in Iran. Even before Eisenhower took office, political turbulence in that country was on the rise, prompted by discontent over Iran's oil royalty arrangement with the British-owned AngloIranian Oil Company.(28) A highly nationalist faction (the National Front) of the Majlis, or parliament, led by Moham med Mossadegh, nationalized the oil industry. (Nationalization was considered a symbol of freedom from foreign influence.) Mossadegh, whom the shah reluctantly made prime minister after the nationalization, opposed all foreign aid, including U.S. assistance to the army. He also refused to negotiate with the British about oil, and in late 1952 he broke off relations with Great Britain. The turmoil associated with nationalization stimulated activity by Iranian Communists and the outlawed Tudeh party. At a rally attended by 30,000 people, the Communists hoisted anti-Western, pro-Soviet signs, including ones that accused Mossadegh of being an American puppet.(29)
In the United States, officials feared that loss of Iranian oil would harm the European Recovery Program and concluded that the communist activity in Iran was a bad omen, although the Soviets did not intervene beyond giving moral support.(30) The Mossadegh government hoped that the United States would continue to deal with Iran and prevent economic collapse, but the Truman administration put its relations with Great Britain first and participated in an international boycott of Iranian oil--although Washington did give Tehran a small amount of aid. U.S.-Iranian relations deteriorated, as did the Iranian economy. Under that pressure, Mossadegh resorted to undemocratic methods to forestall the election of anti-government deputies to the Majlis. When he tried to control the Ministry of Defense, he was forced to resign, but he soon returned to power when his successor's policies triggered virulent criticism from Mossadegh's supporters. Mossadegh came through the crisis with increased, and in some ways authoritarian, powers.(31) On August 10, 1953, the shah, unable to dominate Mossadegh, left Tehran for a long "vacation" on the Caspian Sea and then in Baghdad. But he did not leave until he knew that a U.S. operation was under way to save him.

As author James A. Bill has written: "The American intervention of August 1953 was a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations. [It] left a running wound that bled for twenty-five years and contaminated relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79."(32) London had first suggested a covert operation to Washington about a year earlier. The British were mainly concerned about their loss of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but in appealing to the United States, they emphasized the communist threat, "not wishing to be accused of trying to use the Americans to pull British chestnuts out of the fire."(33)

The British need not have invoked the Soviet threat to win over John Foster Dulles or his brother Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; both were former members of the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.(34) Besides, there was ample evidence that Mossadegh was neither a Communist nor a communist sympathizer. Nevertheless, Operation Ajax was hatched--the brainchild of the CIA's Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran.(35) Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.(36) The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah's choice for prime minister, Gen. Fazlollas Zahedi, who had been jailed by the British during World War II for pro-Nazi activities.(37)
The covert operation began, appropriately enough, with assurances to Mossadegh from the U.S. ambassador, Loy Henderson, that the United States did not plan to intervene in Iran's internal affairs. The operation then filled the streets of Tehran with mobs of people--many of them thugs-- who were loyal to the shah or who had been recipients of CIA largess. In the ensuing turmoil, which included fighting in the streets that killed 300 Iranians, Mossadegh fled and was arrested. On August 22, 12 days after he had fled, the shah returned to Tehran. Mossadegh was sentenced to three years in prison and then house arrest on his country estate.
Later, in his memoirs, Eisenhower claimed that Mossadegh had been moving toward the Communists and that the Tudeh party supported him over the shah. Yet a January 1953 State Department intelligence report said that the prime minister was not a Communist or communist sympathizer and that the Tudeh party sought his overthrow.(38) Indeed, Mossadegh had opposed the Soviet occupation after the war.(39) Author Leonard Mosely has written that "the masses were with him, even if the army, police, and landowners were not."(40) Eight years after his overthrow, Mossadegh, about 80 years of age, appeared before a throng of 80,000 supporters shouting his name.(41)
Once restored to power, the shah entered into an agreement with an international consortium, 40 percent of which was held by American oil companies, for the purchase of Iranian oil. It was symptomatic of the postwar displacement of British by U.S. interests that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was not restored to its previous dominance.(42) In succeeding years the United States regarded the shah as a key ally in the Middle East and provided his repressive and corrupt government with billions of dollars in aid and arms.
The restoration of the shah to the Peacock Throne engendered immense hostility toward the United States and had cataclysmic consequences. The revolutionary torrent that built up was ultimately too much for even the United States to handle. By the late 1970s the shah and his poor record on human rights had become so repugnant to the State Department under Cyrus Vance that almost any alternative was deemed preferable to the shah's rule. But the shah had his defenders at the Pentagon and on the National Security Council who still thought he was important to regional stability and who favored his taking decisive action to restore order. President Carter at first was ambivalent. U.S. policy evolved from a suggestion that the shah gradually relinquish power to a call for him to leave the country. On January 16, 1979, the shah, as he had in 1953, took leave of his country--this time for good.

3) 1973 an up -Chili
By Blum:
When Salvador Allende, a committed democratic socialist, came within three percent of winning the Chilean presidency in 1958, the United States decided that the next election, in 1964, could not be left in the hands of providence, or democracy.
Washington took it all very gravely. At the outset of the Kennedy administration in 1961, an electoral committee was established, composed of top-level officials from the State Department, the CIA and the White House. In Santiago, a parallel committee of embassy and CIA people was set up.
"U.S. government intervention in Chile in 1964 was blatant and almost obscene," said one intelligence officer strategically placed at the time. "We were shipping people off right and left, mainly State Dept. but also CIA, with all sorts of covers." All in all, as many as 100 American operatives were dedicated to the operation.
They began laying the groundwork for the election years ahead, a Senate investigating committee has disclosed, "by establishing operational relationships with key political parties and by creating propaganda and organizational mechanisms capable of influencing key sectors of the population." Projects were undertaken "to help train and organize 'anti-communists"' among peasants, slum dwellers, organized labor, students, the media, etc..
After channeling funds to several non-leftist parties, the electoral team eventually settled on a man of the center, Eduardo Frei, the candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, as the one most likely to block Allende's rise to power. The CIA underwrote more than half the party's total campaign costs, one of the reasons that the Agency's overall electoral operation reduced the U.S. Treasury by an estimated $20 million-much more per voter than that spent by the Johnson and Goldwater campaigns combined in the same Year in the United States. The bulk of the expenditures went toward propaganda.
*****
The operation worked. It worked beyond expectations. Frei received 56 percent of the vote to Allende's 39 percent. The CIA regarded "the anti-communist scare campaign as the most effective activity undertaken", noted the Senate committee. This was the tactic directed toward Chilean women in particular. As things turned out, Allende won the men's vote by 67,000 over Frei (in Chile men and women vote separately), but amongst the women Frei came out ahead by 469,000... testimony, once again, to the remarkable ease with which the minds of the masses of people can be manipulated, in any and all societies.
What was there about Salvador Allende that warranted all this feverish activity? What threat did he represent, this man against whom the great technical and economic resources of the world's most powerful nation were brought to bear? Allende was a man whose political program, as described by the Senate committee report, was to "redistribute income [two percent of the population received 46 percent of the income] and reshape the Chilean economy, beginning with the nationalization of major industries, especially the copper companies; greatly expanded agrarian reform; and expanded relations with socialist and communist countries."
A man committed to such a program could be expected by American policy makers to lead his country along a path independent of the priorities of US foreign policy and the multinationals. (As his later term as president confirmed, he was independent of any other country as well.)
*****
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." (How is this for "democracy" stance? Oh, I love it, A.S.)
Thus spoke Henry Kissinger, principal adviser to the President of the United States on matters of national security. The date was 27 June 1970, a meeting of the National Security Council's 40 Committee, and the people Kissinger suspected of Imminent Irresponsibility were Chileans whom he feared might finally elect Salvador Allende as their president.
The United States did not stand by idly. At this meeting approval was given to a $300,000 increase in the anti-Allende "spoiling" operation which was already underway. The CIA trained its disinformation heavy artillery on the Chilean electorate, firing shells marked: "An Allende victory means violence and Stalinist repression." Black propaganda was employed to undermine Allende's coalition and support by sowing dissent between the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, the main members of the coalition, and between the Communist Party and the [communist dominated]CUTCh.
Nevertheless, on 4 September Allende won a plurality of the votes. On 24 October, the Chilean Congress would meet to choose between him and the runner-up, Jorge Alessandri of the Conservative National Party. By tradition, Allende was certain to become president.
The United States had seven weeks to prevent him from taking office. On 15 September, President Nixon met with Kissinger, CIA Director Richard Helms, and Attorney General John Mitchell. Helms' handwritten notes of the meeting have become famous: " One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile! ... not concerned with risks involved ... $10,000,000 available, more if necessary ... make the economy scream.
Funds were authorized by the 40 Committee to bribe Chilean congressmen to vote for Alessandri, but this was soon abandoned as infusible, and under intense pressure from Richard Nixon, American efforts were concentrated on inducing the Chilean military to stage a coup and then cancel the congressional vote altogether.' At the same time, Nixon and Kissinger made it clear to the CIA that an assassination of Allende would not be unwelcome. One White House options-paper discussed various ways this could be carried out.
*****
Meanwhile, the Agency was in active consultation with several Chilean military officers who were receptive to the suggestion of a coup. (The difficulty in finding such officers was described by the CIA as a problem in overcoming "the apolitical, constitutional-oriented inertia of the Chilean military.) They were assured that the United States would give them full support short of direct military involvement. The immediate obstacle faced by the officers was the determined opposition of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Rene Schneider, who insisted that the constitutional process be followed. He would have to be "removed".
In the early morn of 22 October the CIA passed "sterilized" machine guns and ammunition to some of the conspirators. (Earlier they had passed tear gas.) That same day Schneider was mortally wounded in an attempted kidnap (or "kidnap") on his way to work. The CIA station in Santiago cabled its headquarters that the general had been shot with the same kind of weapons it had delivered to the military plotters, although the Agency later claimed to the Senate that the actual assassins were not the same ones it had passed the weapons to.
The assassination did not avail the conspirators' purpose. It only served to rally the army around the flag of constitutionalism; and time was running out. Two days later, Salvador Allende was confirmed by the Chilean Congress. On 3 November he took office as president.
The stage was set for a clash of two experiments. One was Allende's "socialist" experiment aimed at lifting Chile from the mire of underdevelopment and dependency and the poor from deprivation. The other was, as CIA Director William Colby later put it, a "prototype or laboratory experiment to test the techniques of heavy financial investment in an effort to discredit and bring down a government."
Although there were few individual features of this experiment which were unique for the CIA, in sum total it was perhaps the most multifarious intervention ever undertaken by the United States. In the process it brought a new word into the language: destabilizatlon.
"Not a nut or bolt [will] be allowed to reach Chile under Allende", warned American Ambassador Edward Korry before the confirmation. The Chilean economy, so extraordinarily dependent upon the United States, was the country's soft underbelly, easy to pound. Over the next three years, new US government assistance programs for Chile plummeted almost to the vanishing point, similarly with loans from the US Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, in which the United States held what amounted to a veto; and the World Bank made no new loans at all to Chile during 1971-73. US government financial assistance or guarantees to American private investment in Chile were cut back sharply and American businesses were given the word to tighten the economic noose.
What this boycott translated into were things like the many buses and taxis out of commission in Chile due to a lack of replacement parts; and similar difficulties in the copper, steel, electricity and petroleum industries. American suppliers refused to sell needed parts despite Chile's offer to pay cash in advance.
Multinational ITT, which didn't need to be told what to do, stated in a 1970 memorandum: "A more realistic hope among those who want to block Allende is that a swiftly deteriorating economy will touch off a wave of violence leading to a military coup."
In the midst of the near disappearance of economic aid, and contrary to its warning, the United States increased its military assistance to Chile during 1972 and 1973 as well as training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama. The Allende government, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, was reluctant to refuse this "assistance" for fear of antagonizing its military leaders.
Perhaps nothing produced more discontent in the population than the shortages, the little daily annoyances when one couldn't get a favorite food, or flour or cooking oil, or toilet paper, bed sheets or soap, or the one part needed to make the TV set or the car run; or, worst of all, when a nicotine addict couldn't get a cigarette. Some of the scarcity resulted from Chile being a society in transition: various changeovers to state ownership, experiments in workers' control, etc. But this was minor compared to the effect of the aid squeeze and the practices of the omnipresent American corporations. Equally telling were the extended strikes in Chile, which relied heavily on CIA financial support for their prolongation.
In October 1972, for example, an association of private truck owners instituted a work-stoppage aimed at disrupting the flow of food and other important commodities, including in their embargo even newspapers which supported the government (subtlety was not the order of the day in this ultra-polarized country). On the heels of this came store closures, countless petit-bourgeois doing their bit to turn the screws of public inconvenience- and when they were open, many held back on certain goods, like cigarettes, to sell them on the black market to those who could afford the higher prices. Then most private bus companies stopped running, on top of this, various professional and white-collar workers, largely unsympathetic to the government, walked out, with or without CIA help.
Much of this campaign was aimed at wearing down the patience of the public, convincing them that "socialism can't work in Chile". Yet there had been worse shortages for most of the people before the Allende government-shortages of food, housing, health care, and education, for example. At least half the population had suffered from malnutrition. Allende, who was a medical doctor, explained his free milk program by pointing out that "Today in Chile there are over 600,000 children mentally retarded because they were not adequately nourished during the first eight months of their lives, because they did not receive the necessary proteins."
Financial aid was not the CIA's only input into the strike scene. More than 100 members of Chllean professional associations and employers' guilds were graduates of the school run by the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Front Royal, Virginia-"The Little Anti-Red Schoolhouse". AIFLD, the ClA's principal Latin America labor organization, also assisted in the formation of a new professional association in May 1971: the Confederation of Chilean Professionals. The labor specialists of AIFLD had more than a decade's experience in the art of fomenting economic turmoil (or keeping workers quiescent when the occasion called for it).
CIA propaganda merchants had a field day with the disorder and the shortages, exacerbating both by instigating panic buying. All the techniques, the whole of the media saturation, the handy organizations created for each and every purpose, so efficiently employed in 1964 and 1970, were facilitated by the virtually unlimited license granted the press: headlines and stories which spread rumors about everything from nationalizations to bad meat and undrinkable water ... "Economic Chaos! Chile on Brink of Doom!" in the largest type one could ever expect to see in a newspaper ... raising the specter of civil war, when not actually calling for lt., literally ... alarmist stories which anywhere else in the world would have been branded seditious ... the worst of London's daily tabloids or the National Enquirer of the United States appear as staid as a journal of dentistry by comparison.
*****
The government contingency plans were presumably obtained by the Agency through its infiltration of the various parties which made up Allende's Unidad Popular (UP) coalition. CIA agents in the upper echelons of Allende's own Socialist Party were "paid to make mistakes in their jobs" In Washington, burglary was the Agency's tactic of choice for obtaining documents. Papers were taken from the homes of several employees of the Chilean Embassy; and the embassy itself, which had been bugged for some time, was burgled in May 1972 by some of the same men who the next month staged the Watergate break-in.
In March 1973, the UP won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their best and most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.
During the spring and summer the destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with an even longer one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: "While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout." A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on "a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas" where the money for it came from. "From the CIA," they answered laughing.
There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and Patria y Liberatad..
In September the military prevailed. "It is clear," said the Senate investigating committee, "the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973."
The American role on that fateful day was one of substance and shadow. The coup began in the Pacific coast port of Valparaiso with the dispatch of Chilean naval troops to Santiago, while US Navy ships were present offshore, ostensibly to participate in joint maneuvers with the Chilean Navy. The American ships stayed outside of Chilean waters but renamed on the alert. A US WB-575 plane-an airborne communications control system-piloted by US Air Force officers, cruised in the Chilean sky. At the same time, American observation and fighter planes were landing at the US air base in Mendoza, Argentina, not far from the Chilean border.
*****
Washington knows no heresy in the Third World but independence. In the case of Salvador Allende independence came clothed in an especially provocative costume-a Marxist constitutionally elected who continued to honor the constitution. This would not do. It shook the very foundation stones upon which the anti-communist tower is built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that "communists" can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing an brainwashing the population. There could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power-a democratically elected Marxist in power.

I think, the commentaries are redundant, although I apologize for the legth of this response, where I freely employed someone else's comments mixed with my own.












N. Friedman - 10/3/2004

In my last commment I wrote: "And note: you have proven my point with your comment. As nasty as the spat with France was, the US retains its alliance with the US. Such would be the case with Israel were the US to cease being a military ally."

I should have said:

And note: you have proven my point with your comment. As nasty as the spat with France was, the US retains its alliance with the France. Such would be the case with Israel were the US to cease being a military ally.

I should read my comments better before I post. Sorry.


N. Friedman - 10/3/2004

Peter,

With due respect, I disagree. I think that, by and large, the Europeans stood up to the US - not the other way around -. That, you will note, is how President Clinton saw it when he wrote in The Guardian in March of 2003. And that is how a number of other commentators saw the matter. Which is to say, France could have disagreed with the US without blocking US policy in the UN. Such served French aims in the EU and elsewhere but was hardly a necessity to France itself whatever France may think of the war.

In any event, the US, having a disagreement with France about a war with a third country - not with France, mind you - is a very different thing than the US pushing hard on France about something that actually affects France directly.

And note: you have proven my point with your comment. As nasty as the spat with France was, the US retains its alliance with the US. Such would be the case with Israel were the US to cease being a military ally.

So, frankly, it is you who should read the news a bit more carefully than you have chosen to do.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/3/2004

Arnold,
No need to apologize. Attacking someone’s grammar or spelling on these posts in a sure sign that you have nothing to say about their argument. I find this discussion between N and I, and Peter and you to be quite enjoyable. Always a pleasure to debate two intelligent people rather than some of the mindless ignorance one sometimes finds here. That being said, on to the post…

1) “Where and when else have you seen the scale, magnitude, and depth of the sanctions imposed on the Saddam's Iraq.”

My disagreement comes from the simple fact that I believe Iraq’s punishment fit its crimes. After all, he arbitrarily invaded another country, engaged in genocide against the Kurds, and clearly had aims for WMD. Israel’s conflict stems from a war that it did not instigate, and is based on mutual hostility, and repeated terrorist attacks.

Furthermore, I have never been impressed with the argument that the sanctions were responsible for starving Iraqis. The argument would be far more persuasive to me if Iraq was broke… it was not. The Hussein regime had millions of dollars flowing in though the oil market both legally and illegally, and he used this money to build extravagant palaces and luxury for his family and friends. Like Arafat, who also has millions and control over Palestinian aid and who also uses the money for personal aggrandizement rather than helping his people, Iraq was not a poor country, even when its people were starving.

I would also point out that what happened to Iraq was less a result of international discrimination and more the international community simply acquiescing to the demands of the US. The most recent war in Iraq is a case in point. The international community was largely against it and it had the support of a majority of the population in only 2 states on earth for which there is polling data.

2) “And what's the final result of that alleged so scary and active discrimination against "democratic" Israel (that grants citizenship on the basis of the Jewishness of one's mother and where state is not separated from religion)?”

It is true, the unique circumstances for which it was created has compelled Israel to open its door to all Jews. Given the purpose for its very existence as a haven and home for the Jewish people, how could it be any other way? In America we only allow people born in this country to be president, does that not discriminate against all other citizens not born here? I am not saying that they are the same, merely pointing out a discretionary clause in our own government.

I would however dispute the contention that there is no separation between synagogue and state (if that is the correct terminology). Israel is a secular parliamentary democracy. It has no state religion in order to hold public office (which is why Arab-Israeli political parties have representation in the Knesset) and it has 2 official languages (one being Arabic). The fact that it is a “Jewish” state is no more a sign of its government than it is to say that America is a “Christian” country, or an “Anglo-American” one.

3) “The impotence of the international community caused by the ban on the possible remedies imposed by the US and its NATO allies in the form of vetoes created atmosphere of desperation, hopelessness, and consequent sharp increase in terrorist activity ((unfortunately, almost traditional weapon of desperate people) and recruitment of new murderous victims.”

I disagree that terrorism is a traditional weapon of hopeless people or that it is somehow the rational response to such desperation. For a clear articulation of my position on this, see Alan Dershowitz’s article here (I am aware of his bias and his distaste among many, so try and focus on the points rather than the author since frankly, I don’t think he even goes far enough)
http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Does_Oppression_Cause_Suicide_Bombing$.asp

4) “There is much more tragedy in the world to cry for than
the alleged discrimination of the actions of the Israeli goverments.”

The above point is well taken and I agree that there are far better things to worry about than Israeli discrimination. I would add however that there are better things to cry about than the death of a known terrorist. When Israel kills a terrorist, the international community erupts in hate. When the Palestinians kill an Israeli, the international community erupt in sadness… for the terrorist, and how such an evil regime could have produced it. With children being slaughtered all throughout conflicts in Africa and Latin America, with slavery still used in Haiti and Eastern Europe, I shed few tears when I see a Palestinian home destroyed because that home was used as a base of operations for terrorists.

This is why the international community has no moral credibility with me. As a result, even when the UN condemns an Israeli action that truly is condemnable, that truly does violate the norms and morality of any peaceful society, such as the cruel humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints, the randomness of Palestinian deaths, including women and children, and many more, I know that to support any UN action is ultimately to support an organization whose hatred has become so institutionalized, nothing short of annihilation of Israel would truly satisfy their demands. This is why I would rather protest in more effective ways, like through Israeli peace groups, and various peaceful NGO’s.

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Israels_UN_Statement_on_Rantisi.asp
http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Israels_statement_at_the_UN.asp



N. Friedman - 10/3/2004

Dear Arnold,

Thank you for your priceless response/non-response.

1. "You gotta be kidding us or deluding yourself, Mr Friedman. Are we in kindergarden here or what?
Sorry, but I really cannot force myself to critisize this horribly false and ridiculous notion. Any takers?"

Which democracies has the US ever really stood up against? Name them.

The US will, of course, stand with Israel over the long term whether or not the two countries remain close military allies.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/3/2004

"Israel is an ally of the US because it is a democracy. That does not mean the countries have to be in a military alliance but the US always stands with democracies. Such is unlikely to change anytime soon."

You gotta be kidding us or deluding yourself, Mr Friedman. Are we in kindergarden here or what?
Sorry, but I really cannot force myself to critisize this horribly false and ridiculous notion. Any takers?

Adam,
Always a pleasure to exchange with you and wholesale apology for the lack of polishness and style in my remarks - now and for the future.

Basically, my only and major objection on many issues
discussed on HNN boards was always been and remains to be
double standards, so frequently (I would say, routinely)
employed by many comments' authors in defending their viewpoints.

As to the question, what country experienced the most
of the international community "discrimination", I would
name Iraq. Yes, Iraq.
Where and when else have you seen the scale, magnitude, and depth of the sanctions imposed on the Saddam's Iraq.
It is not to say, they all were discriminatory and unfair, or that Mr. Hussein was dictator of a mild type, but neither noone in its right mind can assert that banning the sovereign country's flight rights on 2/3 of the country's territory, missile and bomb attacks to destroy its defensive capabilities in "peaceful" time,
and the factual total control of its entire air space
by foreign military forces, was beyond everything that
had been ever done to much worse agressors than Saddam.
I'm not mentioning already unprecented in its totality and cruelty economic sanctions (even South African apartheid regime had trading with ... Israel and some other states during the imposed sanctions, and was not
punished in any way for attacking Angola.) that led to
the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, and adult civilains, and to no extent helped to overthrow
Saddam's regime.

The UN and its Security Council members had not planned anything remotely close to the horrible punishment it exposed Iraq to(under the tremendous pressure of the US and UK), even before the second "illegal" war, against Israel. Even attempts to condemn some of its actions and call its leaders to order were vetoed by the US.
And what's the final result of that alleged so scary and active discrimination against "democratic" Israel
(that grants citizenship on the basis of the Jewishness of one's mother and where state is not separated from religion)? At the end, that's what matters for the material people we all are.
What's its tragic practical outcome?
Oh, well,... - close to none.
Perhaps, I'm wrong here: there is major tragic result directly related to the initial discussion topic.
The impotence of the international community caused by
the ban on the possible remedies imposed by the US and its NATO allies in the form of vetoes created atmosphere
of desperation, hopelessness, and consequent sharp increase in terrorist activity ((unfortunately, almost traditional weapon of desperate people) and recruitment of new murderous victims.
Let's compare it with the respective outcome for some other "bad guys" (in the perception of the international community) sanctioned and institutionalized by the UN majority, or/and by the major industrial (should I say -'financial' - at this point in history) powers.
Well, you probably know what I mean, making my further comments redundant.

I can cry for the peaceful citizens of Israel killed by wanton terrorist acts and for the omnnipotent and omnipresent anti-semitism, I personally, along with millions of other Jews, have been a target of, but sorry if I keep my eyes dry for the absence of goodwill towards allegedly innocent, or not-so-much-guilty Israeli governments and towards influential political and military leaders, who openly supported or practiced state terrorism themselves, some of them being "pioneers" in methods used by today's Islamic and other terrorists.
There is much more tragedy in the world to cry for than
the alleged discrimination of the actions of the Israeli goverments.

Until the US managers and their client states don't stop
tailoring the world according with their own design, needs, and wants, until this country's "national interests" and "threats to national security" are interpreted according with their own perception and
desires, until they continue to spit to the face of the international law and agreements, and the will of the international community, there will be no even relative peace on this planet, no resolution of Israeli-Arab conflict, but wars with their legalized murder of millions innocent people, tremendous suffering of more
millions, and festival of terror - state, group and individual, etc.

I suspect, the real victors in this tragical human comedy will eventually be Chinese, in their own country, and around the world.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/2/2004

I wanted to add that although Jews do not vote based on Israel (at least that would seem to be the logical conclusion based on the evidence), I do believe that they would have every moral right to.

Just as there exists a double-standard against Israel in the UN, there does seem to be a double-standard against Jews in America by many on the far left and the far right(none of whom are posting on this site, I would add).

After all, I have never heard anyone complain of a Cuban-American duel loyalty when they vote on Cuban issues, or when the leading national organziations pushing for African interests are mostly black, there is no complaint or insinuation. Personally, I wish that more Jews DID base their political choices on defending Israel, but thats just me.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/2/2004

1) “At the risk of voicing the unpleasant but obvious: How many Israeli Jews have to die before American Jews say: "Enough !" ?”

Your statement is indeed unpleasant and it assumes a very false myth: That American Jews are totally loyal to Israel no matter what, and it votes based on that loyalty. In fact, Jews are surpassed only by blacks as the most consistent voting block of the New Deal Democrats and this election year does not seem to be any different. Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush have been the most pro-Israel presidents in history, each Republican more committed to Israel than the last, while Democrats have been far more balanced. The vast majority of Jews vote Democratic. Frankly, I am not really sure what more you expect of them other than to vote out of office the president who you seem to believe is Sharon’s “lacky.”

2) “And an isolated neo-fascist Israel is not in Americans' or anyone else's interest, except perhaps the fanatical settlers which that disgraced leader panders to.”

Neo-fascist seems a but hyperbolic doesn’t it? After all, regardless of how you feel about Sharon, Israel is just as much a democracy now as it was when Sharon took office. Do you honestly believe much would change if Sharon is replaced? Furthermore, has Sharon done anything to indicate that he is against peace? Many of his actions and statements indicate to me that he is just as willing to make peace as Rabin or Barak. However, under current circumstances, he is also willing to defend Israel.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/2/2004

Peter,
1) “I often wonder whether so many resolutions would be passed if it were not assumed that they would be automatically vetoed.”

I honestly do not see what the moral difference is. The intent is clearly to de-legitimize Israel (at best) regardless of whether it will be vetoed or not.

2) “This old "ends justifies the means" thinking has generated hundreds of posts on HNN in the past. I don't believe either Adam or Arnold support such nonsense, so I have no further comment thereto.”

I appreciate that, and I also agree that on both sides of the debate, there are those who have become so sensitive and defensive on this subject, real debate becomes meaningless. I am happy to say that on this particular thread, I do not see any such blind allegiances, only reasonable disagreement.

3) “While the relocation of European Jews after World War II surely could have been handled in a better way than it was, there is no prospect for undoing a Jewish State in the Mideast.”

I actually believe that the relocation to Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state was in fact the very best way it could have been handled. It was only by ignoring the needs of local Arabs, creating arbitrary borders in making many of these states, and refusing to prevent the breakout of all out war that the international community let all sides down. As for the settlement in Israel, Jews had lived there for millennia, and had been migrating in massive numbers since the late 19th century. In other words, the decision to make Israel a national home to the Jewish people was not Europe’s decision to make.

4) “It also means however, that Israel is no longer an automatic ally of the U.S. by virtue of being consistently opposed to our number 1 rival.”

At this point, our alliance is not based on mutual enemies (although even in the post URRS world, that certainly doesn’t hurt). It stems from a shared culture, shared values, and the belief among Americans that Israel is genuinely the victim of unfair treatment by the UN, and has a right to defend itself.


N. Friedman - 10/2/2004

1. "While the relocation of European Jews after World War II surely could have been handled in a better way than it was, there is no prospect for undoing a Jewish State in the Mideast."

Two points: One, large numbers of Jews surviving the Shoah were placed in displaced person camps. The Europeans fretted about what to do with them. In due course, these refugees took matters into their own hands. You might recall the Exodus incident - a true story that was only slightly altered in the book and movie.

Second, the notion of "undoing" a state is facsist in every sense of the word. That it has become fashionable in some quarters, ironically on the political Left, to speak of undoing Israel - as if it were possible to force a nuclear power with intercontinental missiles to doing anything - is devoid of any moral decency.

2. "We need instead to find better ways of helping it find peace with its neighbors and re-integration into the world community."

The world community can come back to Israel anytime. It is the world, not the Israelis, who have walked away from commitments. And note, it is Europeans who speak of undoing Israel - e.g. walking away from UN 181 -.

3. " It also means however, that Israel is no longer an automatic ally of the U.S. by virtue of being consistently opposed to our number 1 rival. (As I have said already the “war on terrorism” is a Rovian propaganda croc, our real antagonists today are specific groups such as Al Qaeda which are thriving thanks to the corrupt, counterproductive and miscalculated policies of Bush and Sharon)."

Israel is an ally of the US because it is a democracy. That does not mean the countries have to be in a military alliance but the US always stands with democracies. Such is unlikely to change anytime soon.

I suggest you read Bernard-Henri Levy's Who Killed Daniel Pearl?. The book will cure you of the delusion that the US or Israel has much of anything to do with causing or even really fueling the Islamist terror war. And, if you are not a reader, consider that the attacks in Bali, in Beslan, in Moscow, in Thailand, in Luxor, in Madrid, in Delhi, etc., etc., were not remotely fueled by Israel or the US.

This is not to suggest that the Palestinian Israeli dispute should not be settled. Instead, it means that it is not central to the matter.

I suggest the following: the cause of the Islamist movement is a dispute within the Muslim world about the best way to the future. The Islamists - a group which ought concern any sane person - think that the Muslim world can dominate the world. They believe that cause can be advanced by a number of means including violence against civilians. They both attach themselves to disputes - e.g. in Israel - and merely act to advance the ultimate cause - e.g. as occured in Luxor, in Madrid, in Bali, etc. -.

With the above in mind, the notion that settling one dispute, whether or not a worthy endeavor on its own merit, will affect the Jihad is a delusion of the first order.


N. Friedman - 10/2/2004

I just found a lecture speech she gave in a seminar at the French Senate. It appears on this website. "Bat Ye'or: Europeans Are Repeating the Mistake of Munich (Again)," at http://hnn.us/roundup/comments/5966.html .

From the article:

"At Munich war had not yet been declared. Today the war is everywhere. And yet the European Union and the states which comprise it, have denied that war’s reality, right up to the terrorist attack in Madrid of March 11, 2004. If there is a danger as Europe proclaims urbi et orbi, that danger can only come from America and Israel. What should one understand? For can anyone seriously maintain that it is the American and Israeli forces that threaten us in Europe? No, what must be understood is that American and Israeli policies of resistance to jihadist terror provoke reprisals against a Europe that has long ago ceased to defend itself. So that peace can prevail throughout the world, those two countries, America and Israel, need only adopt the European strategy of constant surrender, based on the denial of aggression. How simple it all is…"

"This strategy is less worthy than even Munich’s connivance and cowardice. At Munich there was some sort of future contemplated, even if war, or peace, were to determine the future. There was a choice. In the present situation there is no choice, for we deny the reality of the jihad danger. The only danger comes, allegedly, from the United States and Israel. We conduct a propaganda campaign in the media against these two countries, before entering into a yet more aggressive phase; it’s so much easier, so much less dangerous…And we conduct this campaign with the weapons of cowardice: defamation, disinformation, the corruption of venal politicians."


N. Friedman - 10/2/2004

Peter,

I note that Bat Ye'or is rather famous. She has her own vocabulary of terms which requires some time to digest. In particular, she is famous for coining the term "Dhimmitude" in, I believe, her well known book "Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide." I believe she has written more than a dozen books. She has also written numerous articles that can be found all over the internet in which she says basically what I indicated.

Her view regarding Europe and Islamist terrorism is, in a nutshell, that Europe has rendered itself incapable of standing up to the Islamic terrorist movement. Such is the result of a series of treaties and informal arrrangements, dating back around 30 years, made with the Arab world which led to substantial changes in the European education system, in immigration policy, in foreign policy, etc. The European goal was to dominate the Arabs but, as with many things, Europe miscalculated and instead locked itself into arrangements it does not know how to escape. As she sees things, Europe is entirely incapable, either ideologically or on the ground, of mounting any serious challenge to the Islamist terror movement.


N. Friedman - 10/2/2004

"many countries are, in fact, rather hostile to any serious effort of any type to combat terror attacks."

Is there any good evidence for this sweeping claim, Mr. Friedman ? Please cite any historical works (author, title, publication date) which come to such conclusions.


N. Friedman - 10/2/2004

"Is there any good evidence for this sweeping claim, Mr. Friedman ? Please cite any historical works (author, title, publication date) which come to such conclusions."

There are quite a few books by Bat Ye'or. However, you might try reading some of her articles. Or you might read one of her interviews.


E. Simon - 10/2/2004

Many of the political descriptions you use are simplistically inaccurate, if not outright wrong. In an effort to avoid a zero-sum match, however, I'll point out the most glaring error. Nobody is demanding that the U.S. administration choose the Palestinians' leaders. They are only demanding the same political reforms demanded by the Palestinians themselves, as well as by the Europeans. Whichever structure of power and set of leaders that emerges would then be accountable to the interests of the Palestinian people as a whole.

Whatever kind of pressure you think could be put on Sharon (which I don't have a problem with, BTW) that would somehow surpass the benefit of such a scenario, I'm not aware of. I have no doubt that if a durable relationship were forged between Israel and a leader who more credibly represented the interests of the Palestinians, the Israeli electorate would do whatever it takes to advance that to a peaceful settlement, regardless of what the settler constituency has to say about it.

If you really think that at this point there is any kind of pressure that the U.S. administration could somehow put on Sharon in an effort to successfully eject him from office, I'd be interested in hearing it. I'm not sure what makes you think you know enough about the situation to be in a position to make such a vague proposal, or the complexities of its consequences. If you want to talk divestiture, I would just remind you that despite the dire economic situation among the Palestinian population, they still rely primarily on Israel for their GDP. This is structural rather than malicious; it was the case even before the intifada. Further, interdependent economies usually work in the best interests of peaceful relations.

I'm not aware that the death-rate for Israeli Jews has been increasing, rather it has been decreasing. And if you have a problem with what looks like the increasingly likely reality of Sharon confronting and evacuating the settlers of Gaza, well you're either insincere, uninformed or betraying your own position. Like yourself, I'll believe it when I see it, but it hardly looks at this point that the preparations will be just for show.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/2/2004

Arnold,
A good post and some good points you bring up. Allow me to respond to them.
1) “First of all, Israel was born as the result of the international goodwill, wasn't it?”

Indeed it was. At the time of Israel’s creation, and after its incredible victory in 1948, Israel was viewed with sympathy and admiration from much of the world, including most of Western Europe, the US, and (briefly) the USSR. However, my argument was never that the international community detested Israel from its inception. Merely that somewhere between then and today (that somewhere is usually around 1967), Israel has been made the victim of unfair discrimination by the UN.

2) “To relocate millions of people onto the lands already populated by the other nation(s) cannot help leading to a major trouble, wars inclusive.”

I respect your opinion, and you may very well be correct that it was a bad idea. However, for much of the worlds Jews, there was literally no where else. No other country would take them in and massacres erupted in parts of Eastern Europe (especially Poland) when Jewish Holocaust survivors tried to return to their homes. Furthermore, the inactions of other countries during the war combined with the notion of political Zionism cemented into the minds of many Jews and Christians alike seems to me to have precluded any other alternative.

3) “All right, let begin witht the unilateral and unconditional support in the UN and huge financial and military aid Israel was receiving from the US for decades, that was vetoing every resolution the international community was trying to conduct against Israeli state for the obvious violations of international laws and long-lasting open contempt for the UN decisions.”

I am afraid you will have to specify your chronology. The United States had an arms embargo on Israel for many years up until the late 1960’s. Our support for Israel was a very simple and common strategy: The Soviet Union was providing money and arms to Egypt and other Arab states which they were using to try and destroy Israel. The US then started supplying Israel in full force. A history of the Cold War shows this to be a common element for many countries. The fact that the Soviet Union collapsed was indeed unfortunate for Arab countries depending on it.

4) “It highly unlikely any unbiased observer can imagine any other country expressing so much contempt for the opinions of the wide international majority without being
severely punished by the latter, or by the major world powers, either economically or militarily, or both ways.”

You may be right, but it is hard to say: No other country has had its legitimacy and its very existence disputed in such a vociferous manner by the United Nations as Israel with the “Zionism is racism” resolution. Had the UN openly declared that pan-Africanism was racism, I suspect that one would find the same contempt from African countries.

5) “Therefore, though you might be correct on some minor details, but to assert that the Israel's the worst (or one of the worst) victim of the lack of the international goodwill is a great exaggeration.”

I disagree. Israel has had more resolutions passed against it than any other country on the planet. Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, Pakistan, the former Afghanistan, Iraq, NONE have received even close to as many resolutions as Israel. In the meantime, the Palestinians have been the subject of zero resolution. Not one. Israel is the subject of more intense scrutiny than any other country, and summits convened to discuss other issues routinely find their way to blatant Israel-bashing. Even if Israel is as bad as its worst critics suggest, the bias against it by the UN is, in my opinion, unequaled in the history of the organization.

Of course, this is not to say that Israel does not act in brutal, immoral, and repulsive ways sometimes. When it does (and sometimes it seems that it often does) I have no problem pointing it out and condemning those actions, just as I would condemn the unjust actions of my own country. But on the subject of Israel and the UN, the history is quite clear to me.

Since we are at the HNN, an excellent article from the archives can be found here: http://hnn.us/articles/684.html

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/unantisem.html


Arnold Shcherban - 10/2/2004

Adam,

It seems to me that the attempts to always present Israel
as the most deprived of international goodwill nation, are too self-serving and reflect the pertaining historical truth with a significant distortion.
First of all, Israel was born as the result of the international goodwill, wasn't it?
Mind you, the UN decision to form a new sovereign state
on the land that used to belong to its ancestors more than a millenium ago was unprecedented, unique in both historical and legal sense. Moreover, it was done against the "will" (good or bad) of Arab nations.
You might say that the move on the part of Stalin's Russia, US, and Great Britain was mostly selfish; everyone of those major players was hoping to get something (actually a lot) in return for the bone thrown to Jews after the horrible genocide perpetrated against to them by Nazi, the genocide European powers failed protect them from.
And I might agree with you on that. Still, ultimately,
there was the expression of the very goodwill you looked for on the part of the world majority at the time.
I personally consider the UN decision a mistake of enormous proportions, and not only for Jews, but for
the international community at large. The major reason
behind my opinion is the following: To relocate millions
of people onto the lands already populated by the other
nation(s) cannot help leading to a major trouble, wars
inclusive. Add to this situation the history of Palestine, vast religious and cultural differences of the
Jews and Palestinians and Arabs, the psychological consequences of the WWII genocide, and the Arab oil, and you got yourself a time-bomb activated.
I consider any radically divisive territorial and demographical changes as huge mistakes commited
by the ones who perpetrate them on people, with mostly terrible, or at the least, definitely negative, consequences (take two Koreas, two Vietnams, India
and Pakistan(Bangladesh), two Germanies, etc.
Of course, what the UN community could not predict at the time, and for what it hardly can be blamed for is another factor: the decades-long Cold War, which to the great extent "helped" to crystallize, catalyze, and sharpen the conflict.
Anyway, how hard Israel actually tried to conquer the goodwiil, in question?
And did it really deserve it?
All right, let begin witht the unilateral and unconditional support in the UN and huge financial and military aid Israel was receiving from the US for decades, that was vetoing every resolution the international community was trying to conduct against Israeli state for the obvious violations of international laws and long-lasting open contempt for the UN decisions.
I doubt it helped Israel's "goodwill" case.
Coincidentally, this country lost a great deal of the world's goodwill protecting Israel from the well-justified anger of the UN members.
It highly unlikely any unbiased observer can imagine any
other country expressing so much contempt for the opinions of the wide international majority without being
severely punished by the latter, or by the major world powers, either economically or militarily, or both ways. I also doubt you can present a single precedent of this kind in the after-WWII history.
Therefore, though you might be correct on some minor details, but to assert that the Israel's the worst (or one of the worst) victim of the lack of the international goodwill is a great exaggeration.


E. Simon - 10/1/2004

How to prevent a country from moving to reject a historically violent and bloody status quo:

You prevent it from becoming a democracy

www.removearafat.org


When Arafat is willing to make the kinds of risks, sacrifices and unpopular decisions on behalf of his people and their future, and when he begins to communicate the need to do so *to them* in a way that decreases, not increases, their radicalism, then we can start making references to Rabin. To shirk this consideration is simply obscene. Arafat's policies (regarding the media, educational system, security and the political process - and that's just the tip of the iceberg) have significantly augmented the radicalization of the problem. Just because previous Israeli leaders chose the now discarded folly of ignoring that fact, as well as its implications, doesn't mean your re-animation of it serves any productive end.

It also ignores Arafat's violent history in making a mess out of, and getting kicked out of Jordan, and his significant contribution to what happened to Lebanon. There are many Student B's across the Middle East.

Sharon is certainly problematic - morally and as a political leader. The way to get rid of him is simple. Allow the Palestinians to take control of their own political process. Your implied prescription that, as a response to terrorist onslaught from an undemocratically controlled tyranny, Israel should revoke its right to elect its own leaders is so flawed that it can't possibly be taken seriously.

It's almost Putin-esque.


stephen Brody - 10/1/2004

--“As you can see by mine and Adam's exchange, intelligent conversation can be had when both sides are openminded and the conversation is not tainted by the ignorance of one side...”

The reason for that, Chris, is Adam somehow manages to post his thoughts without referring to those with which he disagrees as “bigots” or “ignorant” or “idiots”. A failing common to your posts.


N. Friedman - 10/1/2004

Re my incomplete comment: "On Sharon's side, he was not prime minister when the negotiations began. He did not, to note, favor the negotiations because his assessment, I suspect, was that a real settlement is, at present, not possible. I base that assessment on Peres"

The last sentence was somehow cut off. It should have read:

I based that assessment on Peres comment that Sharon has always favored a two state solution.


N. Friedman - 10/1/2004

Re: "the issue here is not Arafat or Sharon" ? Who are you kidding ? (#43382)by Peter K. Clarke on October 1, 2004 at 3:14 AM

Peter,

1. "Even less relevant is some silly map AIPAC may claim to have from the Palestinian Authority. Since when do major American, European, and Asian mapmakers rely on political propaganda in order to draw lines on their maps ?"

Before addressing the substance of your point directly, consider that the noted map appears on Arafat's uniform and in Palestinian school books.

Addressing the substance:

In fact, the dispute concerns Arabs and Israelis, not Americans, not Europeans and not Asians. As such, what the actual parties to the dispute think and do will determine whether the dispute ends - even if the parties sign a treaty -.

If the actual parties involved have no basis to settle there differences, it really does not matter what maps outsiders print and it does not matter what papers they sign. In this instance, two of the parties to the dispute (i.e. Syria and the PA) publish maps - not occasionally but as the norm - which exclude Israel. That is not an accident. Such represent territorial ambitions that interest the persons who commissioned the maps.

In the case of Syria and consistent with Syrian nationalism that long pre-dates Israel's existence, Syrians viewed what is now Israel, Jordan and Lebanon as being part of Syria. And the maps are, in fact, consistent with that viewpoint as they were intended to be.

In the case of the Palestinian Arabs, the maps are also not an accident. Whatever negotiating position the Palestinians may adopt or, in the end, accept, the consensus view among Palestinians is that Israel ought not exist. In their view, Israel is an inherent evil. And the maps - and, again, note that among other places such a map appears, to this day, on Arafat's uniform - represent the Palestinian view of what is just.

Of course, what the Palestinian Arabs believe to be just does not necessarily mean that the Palestinian Arabs will never opt to accept less but such view of the dispute is, in fact, a substantial impediment to their adopting a sufficiently coherent negotiating position to obtain a state. Which is to say, those, who out of an intense sense of cosmic justice, believe that Israel must be destroyed (e.g. Hamas), stand in the path, like a mile high wall, for the Palestinians coming to terms with what is necessary to settle the dispute.


2. "Near East History 101: Begin made peace with Sadat in Egypt Rabin made peace with Hussein in Jordan Barak got Israel out of Lebanon successfully"

Before addressing the substance of what you argue, I note that the record shows, as reported in many newspapers, that the current Palestinian terror campaign had its roots in how Israel withdrew from Lebanon. As reported in The Guardian, Palestinians concluded from that event that the Israel could be forced by terror merely to withdraw. The Palestinians may or may not be correct in that assessment but it suggests the main reason for the terror war which began a short number of months after Israel pulled out of Lebanon and that, in turn, suggests - unless you like violence - that Barak did not succeed very well.

Substantively, the issues between Israel and the surrounding countries are very different than those with the Palestinian Arabs. Which is to say, the Egyptians may, as has been reported, never much cared to reach a settlement with Israel but, on any view, they live a good distance away. Matters are quite different with the Palestinian Arabs.

The Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis seek to divide close living arrangements into separate countries which, to be successful, requires substantial good will and mutual acceptance. None of the plans put forward by the Palestinians, save perhaps that of Sari Nuseibeh, deals with the day after a peace treaty document is signed. And this is because, as the Palestinians maintain in overwhelming numbers, any settlement is merely a first step toward establishing one country with a Palestinian majority or, as Hamas and other seek, one country ruled by Sharia without any Jews. And that, in the end, is not a settlement.


It is certainly arguable that Arafat ought to have used his time in office - which long pre-dates Sharon's - to have prepared his people to settle the dispute. However, it is equally arguable that he could not serve as leader of the Palestinians if he held any other view. Either way, the reality is that the Palestinians are not - and the polling is rather unambiguous on this point - prepared in sufficiently large numbers (i.e. 47% still seek to destroy Israel) to settle.

On Sharon's side, he was not prime minister when the negotiations began. He did not, to note, favor the negotiations because his assessment, I suspect, was that a real settlement is, at present, not possible. I base that assessment on Peres


3. "Sharon and Arafat ARE demonstrably the issue and the main problem."

Again, the main issue is that the parties have mutually exclusive ways to organize close quarter living. It would require saints to settle the dispute. And note. Israel's bottom line, pre-war, was not good enough for, if polls are to be believed, the Palestinians - which is why Arafat presumably rejected it -, there is no settlement. In this regard, I believe that both Sharon and Arafat are realists.

In my view, that means that a two state settlement is an illusion as the state cannot be divided in a manner acceptable to those actually affected. At the same time, a one state solution is also unacceptable because, to put the matter in plain English, a single state solution means another bloody civil war. That leave maintaining the status quo which has led to bloodshed or re-thinking the matter. One idea - again, I am not wed to it but instead would favor any settlement the parties would actually accept - is to create a federation between the Palestinian portions of the West Bank/Gaza to Jordan so that there might be a viable state.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/1/2004

Your brief history of the region should be more than enough to demonstrate that while Israel has had leaders who are more than willing to make peace, Arafat alone has remained the corrupt dictator over Palestinians and has refused to make peace (or is simply unable to exercise any control over his people).

The point is that while Sharon is an easy scapegoat, the Israeli public would not have turned to him had Arafat been willing to make peace with Barak. Sharon can be gone this month, if Israel wanted him to but, until the US and Israel forced the issue recently, Arafat remains.

To use an analogy, if student A does not get along with any other student in school, and his latest enemy is student B, it would be farr less accurate to say that students A and B are equally the problem since they cannot get along than it would be to simply say that student A is the real problem since he cannot get along with anyone.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/1/2004

Peter,
Good point but I do disagree with some of them.
1) “But they wanted a wall on the border recognized on every map and by 99.99% of the rest of the world, NOT, as Sharon has put it, deep into the West Bank as part of a pandering to a subset of Israel's most extreme lunatic fringe.”

Would not building the wall on the green line essentially be giving the Palestinians a state, despite the absence of good faith and peace on the Palestinians part? The wall was build for security, not to demarcate an official border. Since the PA is either unwilling or unable to negotiate and end the terror, Israel has appropriately claimed that it will not recognize a border to the detriment of their security in the absence of peaceful negotiation.

2) “Every country in the world has terrorists, killers, criminals and extremists. Israel is no exception.”

True, everyone has these things, but Israel is in a unique situation in the proximity, size, organization, and international support that its terrorists posses. I can think of few (although there are some) countries who exist under similar circumstances but are constrained at every turn when they go to deal with those terrorists. Israel is condemned for even trying.

3) “Israel has suffered more terrorism under Sharon than under Barak, and Sharon has squandered the international goodwill Israel had built up before him in the '90s when Israeli prime ministers got Nobel Peace Prizes and Tel Aviv cafegoers were not afraid of being bombed.”

I do not agree that Israel ever truly had any goodwill in the world. I would also point out that the intefadeh (and I know this is a controversial point) did not begin with Sharon as PM. The increase of terrorism under his watch is as unfair to him as claiming that more Americans died when Roosevelt was in over than Hoover. While true, Sharon has served as PM during open warfare, while Barak had not.

4) “Goodwill, by the way, is one reason the world overwhelmingly supported America going into Afghanistan. People in most countries tend to support victims and underdogs, as the Israelis clearly were in 1948 and up to 1967, and mostly were since then (before Sharon) (and as America seemed to some extent on September 12, 2001) but do not like to support arrogant bullies (as Israelis now appear to many) thanks to the current prime minister's misrule.”

When the international community condemned the very basis of Israeli existence as inherently racist, when anti-Israel resolutions began spewing out of the GA like water, and when the international community remained complicit with continued attacks against Israeli citizens, Sharon was not in power. When one looks at the circumstances, I am far more inclined to believe that the primary difference between the US in Afghanistan and Israel in the territories is the fact that the US is the US, the most powerful country in the world, and Israel has become something of a scapegoat for virtually every major world problem.

Personally, I do not like Sharon at all and believe that Israel would be better off with a more liberal leader who had more credibility among Palestinians and the world. Nevertheless, that is a personal preference. The contempt many have for Israel started long before this, even though the term “Likud” and “Sharon” have recently become very popular euphemisms. I would point out however that Sharon has become the first Israeli PM to refer to the Israeli presence as an occupation, he was the first to propose unilateral withdraw from Gaza, which is risking everything to implement, and it was because of his actions that the Palestinians now have a new PM, and are building pressure for internal political reform. Again, I am not a huge fan of Sharon, but in all fairness, would any other PM be thought of any differently?


stephen Brody - 10/1/2004

--“By the way Mr. Brody, unlike yourself, I never claim to have any views that are "original" or "my own" “.

Chris, this comes as no surprise to me and explains much.

--“ My arguments draw from the most well respected jurists of our times...namely Lon Fuller and CG Weeramantry. They are also the views of Oscar Arias, Nelson Mandela, Judge Richard Goldstone, Judge Arthur Chaskalson..”

Look Chris, name-dropping is no substitute for original thought or cogent analysis.


“..and my personal contacts have most definitely overcome your google searches, can we get on to some substance?”

I’m really not that impressed by the list of legal glitterati that you claim to have “personal contact” with. Hobnobbing with an ex-World Court Judge is great, but it really doesn’t advance your argument much. Have you ever heard the old saw “it’s not who you know, it’s what you know”. You haven’t shown me much in that department.

What you do seem to excel at is avoiding the argument and referring to anyone that disagrees with you as a “bigot”, “ignorant”, or “an idiot”. Is that what you learned from Fuller and Weeramantry?


“--i know that I must now be anti Semitic since I dare attack Israel and Zionism...”

I haven’t called you an anti-Semite. But your defense of a system that denied Israeli, alone among UN member nations, the chance to nominate jurists for regular Judgeships on the ICJ indicates an anti Israeli bias.

What I have posited is that Israel has been treated as a second-class citizen by the UN and by extension, the ICJ and that they are justifiably leery of the legal opinions of the ICJ. What you responded with is name-calling and invective.


The question is, Chris, do you have any thoughts, original or not, on that proposition?


N. Friedman - 10/1/2004

"The reality is that Israel has no reason to believe that the terrorism will end once the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza end, and that to me is the real barrier to peace. The organizations who are committing terrorist actions against Israel have said that they define the occupation to include all of Israel."

In fact, a major goal of the terror is to make any settlement impossible. The problem, for purposes of reaching a settlement, is that a large percentage - not all, mind you, but a controlling plurality - of Palestinians side with the terrorists.

Incidentally, thank you for the compliment.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 10/1/2004

I have been wanting to join in the discussion, but frankly, Mr. Friedman has articulated my thoughts on this issue so well, I have had very little to add to his comments.

The reality is that Israel has no reason to believe that the terrorism will end once the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza end, and that to me is the real barrier to peace. The organizations who are committing terrorist actions against Israel have said that they define the occupation to include all of Israel. Since they are the one's engaging in attacks against Israel and since the PA has no control over them, I cannot possibly blame Israel for demanding peace in exchange for land, not simply ending an occupation that has slowed the rate of terrorism in hopes that the terrorists will change their minds in a state of their own.

I would also add that few in the world opposed our invasion of Afghanistan based on far less than the Israelis. Can someone honestly condone the invasion of one country for harboring terrorists, but condone the occupation of another country whose ultimate security is far more precarious and whose enemy’s ambitions are far more extensive?

Reasonable people can agree to disagree on this issue, but again, my thanks for Mr. Friedman on his posts.


N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

"Has Sharon 'stopped terrorism' ? Are the hundreds of Israelis murdered by terrorists under his dysfunctional regime therefore victims of the Israeli Prime Ministers' pandering anti-Semitism ?"

One, check the statistics. Terrorism, you will note, has substantially abated in Israel. It will continue to abate as the Israelis are improving at defense and the Palestinians have been unable to re-group.

Two, Sharon's government is not dysfunctional. It is merely not following the policy you prefer. To note, of all the government's fighting Islamic fascist terror, Israel has been the most successful. Which is to say, it has substantially abated attacks despite living in close quarters with terrorists.

Three, this is not to say that a settlement should not be pursued. That is another question entirely. And as I noted from the outset, such might - but does not necessarily - entail Israel's return to the Green line. I can imagine a host of other possibilities including, for example, a federation between Palestinian portions of the West Bank as well as Gaza with Jordan. Such a solution has far better potential than any solution involving the PA. But again, I am not wedded to that idea. It is merely a thought.


N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

1. "The border is recognized in nearly every map I've ever seen of the area for the last 30 or 40 years."

Israel, much less its border, is not on any Palestinian Authority maps. Moreover, Israel and Jordan are not on very many Syrian maps.

2. "There are actually a host of 'frameworks' for 'resolving the dispute'".

None of the frameworks you mention has the authority that UN 242 had. None provides a basis for settlement. The so-called Geneva Agreement is, in essence, a rehash - with one important exception - of President Clinton's December 2000 bridging proposal. It was not acceptable to Palestinians then and it will not be now. And do recall, the Israelis accepted President Clinton's proposal. Arafat did not.

3. "Once again arcane legal arguments are used for an implicit (at least) defense of actions of a government whose cardinal strategy is based on unceasing and blatant illegality (see Gordon's article above). This contradiction is also known as hypocrisy, and is not a way forward for the security of Israel or America."

First, were you to read UN 242, you will note that what I say is not arcane. It follows directly from the text. Which is to say, UN 242 dealt with states, not with prospective states. The idea of a Palestinian state, in other words, was not on the International agenda at the time UN 242 was passed.

Second, the issue here is not Arafat or Sharon. The issue is that the parties have irreconcilable differences.



N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

1. "I agree completely. Terrorism is a tactic, not an entity and pretending that it is some monolith that can be defeated is simply a rhetorical tactic designed to give credibility to virtually any foreign policy action, no matter how disastrous."

I disagree with your view. Consider the case of mustard gas. Clearly, the use of mustard gas in war is a tactic but there has been a sustained effort to place such activity beyong the pale. As a result, the use of such tactic has abated substantially.

There certainly could, were there some world-wide interest in the idea, be a sustained effort to combat the use of terror as a tactic. And that certainly could, if most and hopefully all states signed onto the concept, dramatically limit the use of, in particular, International terror just as the use of mustard gas and the like has been substantially limited.

To note: the one part of the world which has balked at preventing the use of terror tactics is the same part which balks at stopping the use of mustard gas and the like: specifically, the Arab/Muslim world. It is to them that any serious argument must be directed.

As is well known, the publicly stated view from the Arab/Muslim world is that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. However, the real argument is the same as the one which permitted Egypt and Iraq, etc. to use illegal weapons, namely, they can be effective if one thinks only of the short term.

The real argument for combating the use of terror is long term self-preservation. As observed by Walter Lacquer, terrorism and modern technology allow a world of smaller and smaller groups to engage in worse and worse violence. And the smaller the group, the less likely it is to be rational. And the irrational is difficult to control which means, over the long term, that terror is as likely to be used against the Arab/Muslim world and not just by that part of the world. And in the long run, they have - although they have yet to comprehend the fact that they have - a real stake in reigning in the terrorists that outweighs the specious distinction made between freedom fighter and terrorist.


N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

Chris,

1. "and pardon me for the embarressing gaffe if it is Ms. Friedman."

I do not stand on ceremonial title. However, Mr. Friedman is correct.

2. "While the ICJ did state that Israel was the only state group involved, you will note that the PLO/PA is recognized as a state actor at the UN and can thus be a party to the legal case."

I think I disagree with you. My understanding is that there are two basic paths to the ICJ. One, an action between states and, Two, an action seeking an advisory opinion. The case against Israel was clearly an advisory opinion. While the PA filed a brief, it was not a party and was not even eligible to be a party to the case. Otherwise, the PA would have filed its own complaint.

3. "and as the subject matter of the case had to do with Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people within their internationally delineated territory, it most certainly was a legal, not political decision."

I think the matter is more complex. Which is to say, while it is true that the Palestinians - those in the West Bank and Gaza - are not remotely well treated, that is not the be all and end all of the matter. Instead, both sides of the dispute need to be understood or the dispute will never ever settle.

4. "The structure is there...we are just not using it."

The assumption you have is that the International structure would support the US. I think that is a naive assumption.

I think the actual situation is that many states - not just the US - actually reject the approach you have in mind. And many countries are, in fact, rather hostile to any serious effort of any type to combat terror attacks.

In particular, I have most of Europe in mind. EU countries have long standing treaty relations with the Arab world, as more fully explained by the scholar Bat Ye'or, which place them on a true collision path with any effort to combat terror from the Muslim world. As a result, most of the EU countries would stand in the way of any serious effort to combat terror, whether or not by war, from the Arab world because such EU countries see their interests as being closely aligned with the Arab world which means, as a practical matter, that they have factored terror into their lives.


Arnold Shcherban - 9/30/2004

Jentlemen,

We can debate for decades, as we actually did, about who's to blame or, at the least, who's to blame more in Arab-Israeli conflict and about all political and legal issues stemmed from the latter.
The core of the problem, as I and some other unbiased observers realized it decades ago, lied and continue to lie in the results and consequences of the 1967 6-day War, which, by itself, I personally consider was a legitimate response to the imminent threat.
However, the consequent occupation of Arab's territories stretched for many years, grave problem of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and building Israeli
settlements on the occupied territories, were the severe violations of the letter and spirit of the international laws, agreements, and the UN charter.
In 1981, correct me if I'm wrong chronologically, when I heard about the Israel's proclamation of Jerusalem its
capital, I was serving lengthy labor camp sentence on
the trump-up KGB charge in the Northern Kazahkstan.
Already then I predicted that unilateral action created new major obstacle on the way to the resolution of the
Arab-Israeli conflict. More than twenty years the ghost of the old violation of the international agreement on Jerusalem, along with the others, mentioned above, still
haunt Mid-Eastern land.
Should I mention that all these years the US governments
maintained stubborn and near-sighted pro-Israeli position, providing not only the ideiological and political, but huge military support to it. It is the US that created major precedents for the contempt towards the UN General Assembly memorandums and the Security Council resolutions, when they were vetoing one anti-Israeli resolution after another against the will of the rest the world.
In fact, Israel itself was not only violating the international law and agreements, it showed unabated contempt for the will of the entire world (excluding the imperial position of the US governments), developed and
mass-produced nuclear weapons in the amount unheard of and largely redundant for such a small country (estimated at 200-300!) at the time when none of its
known Arab adversaries possessed even one (they still
don't have any).
I challenge anyone to object to the conclusion that the
Israeli actions decribed didn't create higher barriers
on the way to discharging the conflict in its entirety, than the comparingly recent Palestinian suicide-bombers and the wall, combined.
As far as the terrorism issue concerned, in general,
history undoubtedly shows us that terrorism it is not
an offensive, but - on the opposite - a defensive strategy, and even less a War. It is a defensive strategy of the weak, (usually also desperate, exploited and oppressed) people against the strong, (usually also well-positioned, the ones who exploit others and oppresive) people.
This is the case with Palestinians and Israelis, this is
the case with Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, this is the case with Chechens and Russians in Russia, this
is the case with Arabs and this country.
In the latter case, however, the opression and exploitation was applied mostly by proxy (until lately), i.e. sponsoring and supporting authoritarian and totalitarian Arab elites, as long, as they accompany the American and Israel's economic and geopolitical policies, and suppressing the populist parties and movements wanted to make their natural resources the
people's - not local elites' - possession.

You can call me American hater or whatever you can think of, but the current situation in the Mid-East to a great extent was created by British, and later exacerbated by the American (in part, at the British prompt) support of every reactionary regime there and the subversion of every more or less democratic regime, again, as soon, as its leaders, on the easy understandable reasons, became somewhat insensitive to the infamous "American national interests" and geopolitical goals and decided to take primary care of their own national, and urgent at that, needs.

My special thanks to Adam and Chris for their insightive
and much more stylish postings.



N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

TO: Peter K. Clarke

The problem with your view is that, in fact, the Green line is not a recognized border. Rather, it is a former Armistice line. While it may be desirable for the former Armistice line to become a recognized border - an arguable position -, it is not currently one. And such is the case whether or not the West Bank and Gaza are or are not occupied territory.

The basis for claiming the Green line as the recognized border is UN 242. However, UN 242 relates to existing states (i.e. Jordan, Israel, Syria, etc.), not to prospective states (i.e. the PA territory). And, the recognized border contemplated by UN242 was, in fact, to be determined by treaty between states. In fact, a treaty was reached between Jordan and Israel in which the recognized border relevant to the West Bank was set at the Jordan River Israel, on the other hand, does not appear to have territorial interest in retaining Gaza.

It is, accordingly, difficult to see how UN 242 has any further relevance to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. The situation which now exists involves a dispute between Israel and a non-state - a subject regarding which UN 242 says nothing -. And there lies the rub. There is no existing framework for resolving the dispute. Even worse, as was learned from President Clinton's efforts, the minimally acceptable position of the respective sides does not permit any settlement at this time.


chris l pettit - 9/30/2004

and pardon me for the embarressing gaffe if it is Ms. Friedman.

Two points. While the ICJ did state that Israel was the only state group involved, you will note that the PLO/PA is recognized as a state actor at the UN and can thus be a party to the legal case. If they were not, the case would not have taken place because a state party cannot be subject to a suit before the ICJ unless another state or party with state designation is bringing it. Therefore, there were two state parties that were subjects of the case, the Palestinians and the Israelis...and as the subject matter of the case had to do with Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people within their internationally delineated territory, it most certainly was a legal, not political decision.

Your second point, while well taken, is also a bit mistaken, if you pardon the correction. The doctrine of state responsibility is well founded and articulated in international law. The most famous precedent is the Nicaragua case. One of the reasons you don;t hear much about state responsibility in the US is because we OPPOSE it! One of the reasons why there is any inkling of legal support for the Afghan war is because of the doctrine of state responsibility. In reality, there was nothing in the UN Resolution 1373 that permitted military action, and the US had to try and claim an Article 51 exception in terms of state responsibility. It was still a highly dubious claim for a number of legal reasons, but that was the only legal footing available.

There are several ways of combatting international terrorism...unfortunately for the hawkish, Article 51 is not one of them except in blatant cases of state aid (of which Syria and/or Iran may apply). The Montreal Convention and other Conventions dealing with the harbouring of terrorists allows states to go to the ICJ or Security Council to achieve international cooperation in bringing terrorists to justice. There are several others if you need more elaboration, within customary international law, conventions between states, and international criminal law. Many crimes committed by terrorists fall within the individual criminal liability of crimes against humanity. The Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention deals directly with crimes meant to cause terror on both the individual and state level.

The structure is there...we are just not using it.

Adam...a quick note on terrorism. I would include all attacks on civilians...as noted in the GEneva Protocol of 1977 and the Rome Statute of the ICC. It is not called terrorism, but crimes against humanity or war crimes. I would also not only include civilians, but also any illegal strikes against a government or other armed forces that is not in terms of the Article 51 exception, which is quite a narrow one. US and Israeli actions easily fall within that definition...as do the atrocities of the PLO, Hamas, Hizbullah, and many others.

Good post by the way and I like the conversation...makes me think. I know we disagree on some of the historical interpretation as well as political philosophy, which for me makes a great example as to why, as often and completely as possible, we should submit to the "rule of law" and impartial international judiciary bodies.

Respectfully

CP
www.wicper.org


N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

To: chris l pettit
Re: Good quality... (#43027) on September 28, 2004 at 7:50 AM

You write: "The fact that the ICJ has not decided a case regarding terrorism and the palestinians...or any illegality for that matter...is that Israel and the US have never brought one!! The international community cannot block states from bringing cases...that is why the argument of bias makes no sense. The ICJ has never and would never turn down a case on ideological grounds."

I think if you read the ICJ opinion, you will see that your above quoted point is not well considered. The ICJ may or may not care about terror but it has nothing to say to any non-state actors. And, the decision of the ICJ makes clear that the only state involved is Israel while the terror attacks against Israel come from non-state actors - even though they are openly funded and supported by states -. Which is to say, the decision really holds that Israel's (or any other country's) only right of self-defense against non-state attacks is to arrest criminals.

Consider the consequence of the ruling were it to be applied as an actual rule of law. Any action against a group such as al Qaeda, other than the mere arrest of criminals, is likely illegal because the group is not a front for any state. And that would not change if it were shown, as is clearly the case with Hamas, that one or more foreign states fund al Qaeda. Which is to say, the ICJ opinion amounts, if applied universally, to a finding that the attacks of September 11 create no UN Charter, Article 51 situation because Article 51 relates to wars between states, not wars instigated solely by NGO's or by NGO's funded by states. In short, the ICJ has done great harm to the international effort against al Qaeda and other such groups.

Lastly, the ICJ decision will permit the PA and its friends to wax elegant for their cause but the world of actual countries will, in fact, ignore the ruling or insist that the ruling has no universal applicability. And that means that, in fact, the ICJ has made a political, not a legal, decision. And that seriously harms the ICJ.


N. Friedman - 9/30/2004

To: chris l pettit
Re: Good quality... (#43027) on September 28, 2004 at 7:50 AM

You write: "The fact that the ICJ has not decided a case regarding terrorism and the palestinians...or any illegality for that matter...is that Israel and the US have never brought one!! The international community cannot block states from bringing cases...that is why the argument of bias makes no sense. The ICJ has never and would never turn down a case on ideological grounds."

I think if you read the ICJ opinion, you will see that your above quoted point is not well considered. The ICJ may or may not care about terror but it has nothing to say to any non-state actors. And, the decision of the ICJ makes clear that the only state involved is Israel while the terror attacks against Israel come from non-state actors - even though they are openly funded and supported by states -. Which is to say, the decision really holds that Israel's (or any other country's) only right of self-defense against non-state attacks is to arrest criminals.

Consider the consequence of the ruling were it to be applied as an actual rule of law. Any action against a group such as al Qaeda, other than the mere arrest of criminals, is likely illegal because the group is not a front for any state. And that would not change if it were shown, as is clearly the case with Hamas, that one or more foreign states fund al Qaeda. Which is to say, the ICJ opinion amounts, if applied universally, to a finding that the attacks of September 11 create no UN Charter, Article 51 situation because Article 51 relates to wars between states, not wars instigated solely by NGO's or by NGO's funded by states. In short, the ICJ has done great harm to the international effort against al Qaeda and other such groups.

Lastly, the ICJ decision will permit the PA and its friends to wax elegant for their cause but the world of actual countries will, in fact, ignore the ruling or insist that the ruling has no universal applicability. And that means that, in fact, the ICJ has made a political, not a legal, decision. And that seriously harms the ICJ.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/30/2004

We are all aware that the barrier has just been built right? I mean let us not pretend that this thing was built in 1948 and has been a barrier to peace ever since.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/30/2004

1) “I am a bit worried at what you would term "democracy." If we took a true definition of "democracy" certainly the US, Israel, Russia, and a host of other nations would not be able to take part. We would most likely be left with the Nordic countries, possibly Germany, and little else.”

Of course, a modern definition would need to be created. Neither myself, nor anyone else I know actually uses the term to refer to the classical Greek definition of the word. However, there are vast differences between say, Britain, and say, Stalinist Russia. I do not believe that defining democracy in the contemporary world would be difficult. Regular elections, a free press, we do this all the time in the US, rate other countries democratic-ness. I see no difficulty with the international community doing so if they wanted to.

2) “And what of nations such as Singapore, where one certainly could not classify the country as a democracy, but that nevertheless havve competent institutions, a quality government, and a better record than most nations in its respect for international law and human rights?”

Clearly, the UN would have to make the conscious decision that democracy is really the best litmus test for this new branch. If that excludes otherwise competent and moral countries who are not democracies, then it is a small price to pay for me.

3) “I would be much more comfortable with a body that was based on the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that would designate nations that the Commission thinks should sit on the body due to their human rights record.”

No one has clean hands, so to speak, in this world, or at least no major economic or military power. Using Human Rights instead of government for is arbitrary, and would need to be solidified just like Democracy would (after all, does having a death penalty constitute a violation of human rights? Some organizations would say yes, others might say no). In other words, one would be left with the same problem. It seems to me that making the form of government the focus of attention is a far more stable and inclusive option.

4) "Democracies" have as much opportunity of becoming despotic as any other type of government if the citizen is only given a choice between two members of basically the same class and party (as is the case in the US) and if the government has no fear of any true reform taking place through the political process.”

This is very true, but the goal cannot be perfection, merely improvement.

5) “One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. There is state terrorism as much as there is individual terrorism. One cannot define it by who or what is being attacked. That is why it is absurd to term what the PLO and Hamas is doing terrorism and not term what the Israeli government is doing the same thing. It is all terrorism and it all needs to stop.”

I respectfully disagree. One man’s terrorist is another man’s terrorist, just like one man’s sandwich is another man’s sandwich, not his table or his pasta. People may call it whatever they like, but ultimately there is a definition to those things, except in the UN where there should be. If the Nazis called themselves democratic and humane, and the KKK called themselves open and inclusive, does that simply mean everyone can be anything based on their own self-description? To me, the answer is no.

You may define terrorism to mean the killing of civilians (which I infer is your preferred definition), or you may define it to include the targeted killing of civilians (my own preferred definition), or even more narrowly, the targeted killing or wounding of any non-combatant.

Regardless of what you call it, it is unacceptable in today’s climate not to have some agreed upon definition of what a terrorist is. The problem today is that the international community does exactly what you are against, defining it in term of who is being attacked. If it is someone everyone loves (the Palestinians) it is terrorism, if it Israel, it must, almost by definition, be terrorism. This is an unacceptable situation. So long as the UN cannot agree on a definition, anything they say about the subject is useless to me.

6) “I do welcome the new PM and would ask you to note that he is also speaking out against US and Israeli oppression and the illegality of their actions...and of course is being ignored by both the US and Israel. nothing has really changed.”

I credit the creation of the new post directly with Israeli and US actions and believe that it is a significant step forward. The problem, of course, is that because of Arafat’s rule, the PA simply does not have much control over various groups within Palestine. This is a very dangerous situation, and one that I do not envy. Until the Palestinians can speak with one voice however, Israel has no real way of knowing if anything they try and do would actually produce peace. This is why they err on the side of security and not on the side of peace.

7) “i just hope the international community can actually do something to protect the human rights of innocent Israelis and palestinians that want to live in peace, and bring punishment and sacntions against both the Israeli government and the Palestinian leaders who have brought so much suffering to the region, as well as the collaborators on either side, namely the US, Syria, Jordan, etc.”

I hope that you are right, and would be the first to support such a move. However, I find it mar more likely that the international community would do something to protect the rights of innocent Palestinians and bring punishment and sanctions against Israel. Based on the UN’s treatment and attitude on the conflict, I predict no other scenario, and certainly none that could be called balanced in any reasonable way.

Peace may be a long time coming, but let us never lose hope trying!


chris l pettit - 9/30/2004

"On Darfur, behold the Insecurity Council"

by Julie Flint

The Daily Star

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


By the way, i highly recommend a daily or weekly subscription (its free). This is not your typical Arab extremist paper, much like Ha'aretz is not your typical Israeli extremist paper. both publish screeds from time to time, but for the most part are very high quality journalism and analysis.

CP
www.wicper.org


chris l pettit - 9/30/2004

Sorry...had to post that title for Mr. Brody and his incredible Jewish conspiracy paranoia. By the way Mr. Brody, unlike yourself, I never claim to have any views that are "original" or "my own" since we are so far into human history that no one can ever have a thought that has not been conceived of at some point. My arguments draw from the most well respected jurists of our times...namely Lon Fuller and CG Weeramantry. They are also the views of Oscar Arias, Nelson Mandela, Judge Richard Goldstone, Judge Arthur Chaskalson, and several others. Now that we are done with our pissing contest, and my personal contacts have most definitely overcome your google searches, can we get on to some substance? As you can see by mine and Adam's exchange, intelligent conversation can be had when both sides are openminded and the conversation is not tainted by the ignorance of one side...namely yours...and the usual idiocy of Mr. Battle down below. Get over it...there is no global bias against Jews. Israel is and has been in violation of international law and must curtail its atrocities. The wall is one of those. i know that I must now be anti Semitic since I dare attack Israel and Zionism...poor me. As Adam notes, the Palestinian leaders are as corrupt and morally bereft as the Israelis...thus the need for true reform and intelligent debate. I therefore will now move on to the intelligent posts instead of dealing with your bigotry and power politics.

Mr. Simon...excellent question and good to chat with you! One of my huge problems with Oslo is that none of the three sides had ANY incentive to successfully conclude the negotiations. I do think Clinton was, to a point insincere in his desire to be successful, in that he could (did?) not truly go into Oslo concentrating solely on ending the conflict or acknowledging both sides of the atrocities that took place. A large part of the US position was based solely on what was going to be good for the US and how to "deal" with other nations in the region that are not exactly what the US wants them to be. In other words, the power politics that I despise so much. His choice of negotiators? Very subjective I think. I would submit that he would have been much better off going with professional international arbitrators that were not from the US government apparatus...not diplomats...but people familiar with multi-culturalism and international law, as well as the history of the region. Several prominent international jurists are from the region and have demonstrated themselves to be quite objective in their knowledge of the region. As for Israel and Arafat, I think it is safe to say that both were simply out for their self interests and playing power politics. Neither side can be viewed as either sincere or actually wanting to come to a true settlement. The majority of peoples in both areas just want an end to the oppression and to live in peace without fear of atrocities being committed by the extremists on either side, the Israeli government on one and the terrorists and corrupt Palestinian leadership on the other. Arafat is a war criminal as much as Sharon is. It is a sad tribute to the state of the world that both of these "gentlemen" are still walking the earth free without fear of punishment for their war crimes. Hence the reason I say we submit to an impartial international legal system and actually acknowledge the authority of international law instead of whining about the biases that may or may not exist (and I am sure they exist on both sides pro and anti Israel in certain parts of the world) in the international system when the whole system is biased towards might makes right power politics. The bias is in the nation state self interest, not the judiciary.

Adam...great points and a brillian idea...I do have some caveats. First, if you do not mind, I need to clarify something...and I am not trying to patronize in any way. The only way that anything binding comes out of the UN is if the Security Council invokes its Chapter 7 powers of "peace enforcement." The GA resolutions are not binding unless invoked under the "Uniting for Peace" Resolution when a veto or Security Council inaction is preventing Chapter 7 powers from being exercised. So Mr. Battle is absolutely confused down below when he whines about the Arab contingent preventing a designation of genocide. It is primarily the P5 and secondarily the rest of the Security Council that are preventing such a designation. In that case, it is the fact that the Russians and Chinese are playing power politics and are only self interested...as is the case with the US designation of genocide, which is totally uninterested with humanitarian concerns. if they actually were concerned, they would have contributed the $50+ million that was pledges and is now being witheld in humanitarian aid to the region. only $17 million of the $160 million pledged had actually been contributed at last count.

I am a bit worried at what you would term "democracy." If we took a true definition of "democracy" certainly the US, Israel, Russia, and a host of other nations would not be able to take part. We would most likely be left with the Nordic countries, possibly Germany, and little else. And what of nations such as Singapore, where one certainly could not classify the country as a democracy, but that nevertheless havve competent institutions, a quality government, and a better record than most nations in its respect for international law and human rights? I would be much more comfortable with a body that was based on the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that would designate nations that the Commission thinks should sit on the body due to their human rights record. The same problem applies, though, in that Russia (Chechnya), the US (all over the place), China (Tibet), Israel (Palestine), Syria (Lebanon), Pakistan (throughout the country) and several other nations would be prohibited from sitting. you are once again left with the Nordic states, Canada, and a couple of others. This is not to say that either idea is not a fine one, but both would have to be carefully established and could not be based on loose definitions that would basically defeat their purpose.

I would not worry about the Eurocentric nature of things...most international legal scholars see some of it in the earlier human rights documents, but find it to be an argument pretty weak in nature at the moment. As stated above, I do worry about the "democracy" label, simply because even most "democratic" governments, if you want to term the US such a thing, which I would contest, do not speak for their citizens. The great majority of citizens in the UK, Australia and Italy were against the Iraq War and the governments went ahead anyway. "Democracies" have as much opportunity of becoming despotic as any other type of government if the citizen is only given a choice between two members of basically the same class and party (as is the case in the US) and if the government has no fear of any true reform taking place through the political process. The only true progress that has been made in the US has come primarily through social movements and judicial decisions forcing change...and very little else.

I think that defining terrorism is worthless unless one does it in terms of the victims and human rights. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. There is state terrorism as much as there is individual terrorism. One cannot define it by who or what is being attacked. That is why it is absurd to term what the PLO and Hamas is doing terrorism and not term what the Israeli government is doing the same thing. It is all terrorism and it all needs to stop. If a UN body can achieve that, more power to them. i personally think that it will take a strong global judiciary in the form of the ICJ and ICC, along with strong regional judiciaries and the eventual rejection of the validity of the nation state sovereignty argument to achieve such a thing.

I guess we can disagree about the history and cultural of the region all we want. I would not give the US and Israeli marginalization much credit for making Arafat negligible. He did that just fine on his own. He has very little support in Palestine outside his willingness to stand up to Israeli atrocities, albeit in a way that is contradictory to international law and human rights. but the Palestinian people don;t see anyone else coming to their aid, and see that the US and Israel are willing to ignore international law and the consensus of the international community, so who else are they supposed to support. I do welcome the new PM and would ask you to note that he is also speaking out against US and Israeli oppression and the illegality of their actions...and of course is being ignored by both the US and Israel. nothing has really changed.

i just hope the international community can actually do something to protect the human rights of innocent Israelis and palestinians that want to live in peace, and bring punishment and sacntions against both the Israeli government and the Palestinian leaders who have brought so much suffering to the region, as well as the collaborators on either side, namely the US, Syria, Jordan, etc. As long as we have bigots such as Mr. Brody and Mr. Battle, and those who support might makes right politics and the denial of human rights and international law running the show...we are in a hopeless situation.

CP
www.wicper.org


David C Battle - 9/30/2004


Neither the World court nor any other internationalist institution, certainly not the U.N., will do squat to stop terrorism. They can't even decide whether the slaughter in Darfur is genocide thanks to the Arab block.

Israel would be a fool to place it's security in the hands of disinterested anti-semites in black robes and white wigs pandering to Arabs and Leftists.


James E. Thornton - 9/29/2004

You will know when the Global War on Terror has ended when the barrier now under construction is taken down.


stephen Brody - 9/29/2004

--“Mr. Brody...why must you cite people like Dershowitz and Jennings?”

Why? Because their analysis is much more cogent than your own and is not tinged with the anti-Israel bias that permeates yours.


--“Have you even read any of Jennings' decisions?”

Yes, particularly his opinion of the bigoted way in which Israel was excluded from the UN regional group system. An exclusion, by the way, which clearly violated the UN’s own charter.

You might try reading some of Jennings opinions, yourself. It might help prevent you from making manifestly false statements like “the Israelis have as much of a chance as anyone to have a judge appointed,..”

--“The Court is not biased...maybe the UN system is...”

Nonsense. How can a court that uses a biased, bigoted system for selecting Justices, not be stained by that bigotry? What’s more, how can you expect the victims of that bigotry, the Israelis in this case, not to be skeptical of the justice meted out by such a court?

--“But I figure in your ignorant omnipotence..”

Yes, well as I’ve said before, your argument of choice is to go personal, “early and often”.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/29/2004

Chris,
A very interesting article, and one which I have read before. Ultimately however, all of these things are a matter of perspective and are difficult to really find out what "really" happened. Both Bill Clinton, Barak, and Arafat have all "spun" the event to make each one look like the peace-seeker and the other as the obstruction.

That being said, I truely believe that if Arafat truely represented the will of the Palestinian people, and actually could claim to speak for them (a claim he really cannot make, as far as I am concerned), peace would indeed have been achieved. Of course, this is mere speculation on my part.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/29/2004

1) “I guess my question would then be how to reform the Security Council (since it would be them who makes the decisions under their Chapter 7 powers, not the General Assembly) to be fairer?”

D’oh. Chris, I swear I am not trying to ignore your article but I am still unable to find it. I have tried cutting and pasting the document but with no success. Perhaps you could send me the name of the editorial and I can find it on my own. In any event, your question is of the utmost importance, that is how do we fix the system, since we agree that it is flawed. Let me preface my argument with the caveat that I do not presume to have your knowledge of international law and my idea is certainly open to disagreement and discussion.

To me, we must first discover what exactly is wrong with it. To me, the problem ultimately is that the decisions that come out of the GA have no legitimacy and the SC is structures to prevent action in many cases. Since we cannot take away the veto (as no country would agree to it), we must at least make the SC more inclusive by including those countries who are major world players, have every right to be the “legitimizers” of international opinion, so to speak, and should be permitted to sit on the SC, such as Germany and Japan, among others but also perhaps others.

Step two, I believe the UN should create a third branch, that would have one significant characteristic: They must be democracies. Obviously, the term “democracy” would have to be codified and formalized in order to actually judge whether states fit the criteria. Why must they be democracies? Because the major powers in the world have formed a tenuous consensus that only democracies can truly speak for their citizens. Some would argue that this is bias, discriminatory, and Eurocentric. So be it. We cannot encourage international peace and security if we believe that such notions are merely Western constructs that have no uniform value. Thus, the great leap will be psychological more than anything else.

This second body would form as the “Senate” if you will, validating all rules and resolutions. This is the body that will be able to do what the UN currently cannot: define terrorism, without which any attempt to stop it is worthless, give moral credibility to its decisions around the world, encourage states into becoming democracies so that they may be eligible to be a part of this new branch.

I am sure that I am not the first to propose such a reform. I welcome your input on this issue.

2) “I just come from the viewpoint that one can always take the high ground if one is following the law that is universally agreed upon and is in place to protect fundamental human rights. I am totally in agreement that neither side in this conflict does, and that it is an atrocious problem. I just find it easier to solve legally than politically I suppose...”

A fair and honest evaluation. I cannot force either side to do anything but I do believe that the only lasting peace will be made when the Palestinians take internal (not external) control of their lives. The international community could greatly facilitate this, but choose not to. While the world chastised Israel and the US for marginalizing Arafat, look at what it has produced? Palestine’s first Prime Minister, and calls for genuine political reform, even in the midst of a near civil war. Sharon can be gone as soon as the Israeli people want him gone and replaced with a more genuine peacemaker. Arafat remains in control of all power and money that goes into the territory.

My point for saying all of this is that external legal solutions like the UN cannot possibly make any real change so long as the domestic political environment is infected with tyranny and corruption. Only by encouraging real democratic reform, not with war and invasion (note to Mr. Bush) but with international incentives and financial encouragement.

Respectfully,
Adam


chris l pettit - 9/29/2004

This is kind of off point, but it has been a point made in other discussions...the myth of the Palestinians turning down some magical offer from Israel that they now are fighting for...or something to that effect. it took a while to dig up this article, but it is worth viewing I think.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14380

CP
www.wicper.org


chris l pettit - 9/29/2004

Great points...I especially like #7...

You have a good point if you maintain the bias within the General Assembly, which I do not agree with, but respect the arguments for. I guess my question would then be how to reform the Security Council (since it would be them who makes the decisions under their Chapter 7 powers, not the General Assembly) to be fairer? That was the topic of the article I posted. Allow me to try to do it again...

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&;;categ_id=5&article_id=8775

You may have to cut and paste the whole link. It is an op-ed out of the Daily Star.

I am glad we agree that the problem is with the international system and not the legitimacy of the ICJ or the international legal framework. I just come from the viewpoint that one can always take the high ground if one is following the law that is universally agreed upon and is in place to protect fundamental human rights. I am totally in agreement that neither side in this conflict does, and that it is an atrocious problem. I just find it easier to solve legally than politically I suppose...

Mr. Brody...why must you cite people like Dershowitz and Jennings? Have you even read any of Jennings' decisions? I respect that he was a judge and president of the ICJ, however, I have worked with and have a close relationship with Judge Weeramantry, so I have a bit more information than most regarding the inner workings of the Court and positions of most of the judges. The question is can Israel bring a case? YES. Is the body completely impartial (except for the pro Israel bias of the US judge)? YES. Is Israel within its right to have an ad hoc judge? YES. Did it choose to do so? NO. Would it have changed the near unanimity of the decision? NO. Israel has no leg to stand on...and neither does your analysis. The Court is not biased...maybe the UN system is...but I doubt it. But I figure in your ignorant omnipotence, you will not agree with any of this since it violates your all knowing majesty. I apologise for questioning your greatness and hope that you can educate all us hopeless academics and international legal scholars with the gift of your unquestionable scholarship...

CP
www.wicper.org


stephen Brody - 9/29/2004

--“ Mr. Brody...as usual, your lack of knowledge betrays you. As in every case before the ICJ, the Israelis had the right to have an ad hoc judge of their choice on the ICJ.”

As is your wont, Chris, you completely missed the point. And in your usual spectacular fashion.

The point is that Israel, alone among all the member nations of the UN, was for decades, frozen out of membership in a UN “Regional group”. It should have been in the Asia group, but Arab and eastern bloc countries prevented Israel’s membership. This had the effect of preventing Israel from even being able too nominate a jurist to the World court, because nominations are made with-in these regional groups. It also prevented Israel from participating in most of the work of the UN.

No less an international legal luminary than Sir Robert Jennings, a former Justice (1982-1995) and President (1991-1994) of that most august of legal bodies, The International Court of Justice, has written about the abject unfairness of this situation.

--“..the Israelis have as much of a chance as anyone to have a judge appointed, as the process goes through an impartial judicial commission before it even gets to the GA and the SC.”

This is incorrect. The Israelis could not even nominate a Jurist to the ICJ until recently, when it was finally allowed to join the Western Europe and Other Group.

Now then, you claim that Israel had the option of requesting an ad hoc justice for the purposes of sitting on the “Security Fence” case and that somehow made the discriminatory system fair. That’s beside the point. I doubt very much if you would defend the fairness of a court that excluded Blacks from participation as judges or jurors, even if it allowed Blacks to petition for an ad hoc black judge in cases involving other Blacks. Yet, that is precisely the position you are taking with respect to Israel.

The Israelis are justifiably suspicious and dubious of a court that employs a bigoted system that systematically excluded Israeli jurists from consideration for regular judgeships.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/28/2004

Chris,
I was unable to view the link you submitted. I'm sorry.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/28/2004

Chris,
As always, an extremely intelligent legal argument. However, since my argument is not based on the doctrines of international law, I hope my response is as thorough and thoughtful as your post.

1) “The fact that the ICJ has not decided a case regarding terrorism and the palestinians...or any illegality for that matter...is that Israel and the US have never brought one!!”

An excellent point and one that certainly makes an argument about the court troublesome. Nevertheless, I am not concerned with resolving that inherent problem with determining credibility since my doubts about the moral legitimacy of the ICC decision stem partly from its institutional position (that is, the fact that too few cases have been brought to it in order to establish some workable rule of law applicable to both sides).

2) “the fact that the ICJ decision is not politically motivated against Israel is extremely important.”

True, but not for the purposes of my position, since the very existence of a ruling that ignores security concerns, ignores Palestinian terrorism, and ignores Israel’s domestic judicial system (as it should since the case did not involve those things) is just as poor a judgment as one ruled on for ideological concerns.

3) “What does the bias of the GA have to do with the ICJ?”

The two are connected in the sense that both are international structures that the article in question refers to. The recent history of the relationship between the international community (in the form of the UN GA) and Israel is one that has created a great deal of skepticism, even among those institutions that might be the most objective in its rulings. Why? Because the implications of that ruling is going to be determined by the very institutional body that has lost all moral credibility on the subject of the Middle East.

4) “There is no bias on the part of the judges, therefore it is not similar to white judges with ideological bias in the South (political appointees I might add...more bias), but is truly an impartial forum.”

I see no problem with the analogy as it works equally well even in the absence of any bias on the part of the judges. The obvious reason why Israel or the US do not bring a case to the ICC is because they do not want to add credibility to its decisions. This may or may not be unfortunate, but it is the reality in which we are dealing with.

5) “I just don't see how you can question the legal authority of the COurt...especially on moral grounds.”

That’s just it. I do not challenge the legality of the court. I challenge the moral credibility of its decisions because it lacks context and fairness on the part of Israel. That this is a situation that Israel helps to foster by abstaining from filing a complaint with them may seem hypocritical of them. But I cannot change what Israel does, I can only lend my own thoughts to the outcome.

6) “your problem seems to be not with the international legal system and international law, but rather with the actions of the nation states and the paucity of the international system...which is not the topic of the article.”

You are absolutely correct in your interpretation. However, I would argue that it is very much related to the article, since the article makes the implication that Israel’s decision to ignore the ICC ruling effects the entire international community (that is to say, other nation-states). Since the actions of those nation-states effect why Israel would ignore the ruling, their actions and inactions are very much related to the discussion.

7) “So if the US or Israel wants legal precedent decrying the atrocities of Palestinians, they are more than welcome to bring a case before the ICJ and it would be adjudicated in an impartial fashion.”

This may very well be so, but since they know that such an action would not lead to any action by the UN GA or SC, and would likely lead to accepting the legitimacy of a court whose future decisions against Israel COULD lead to action by the GA and perhaps the SC, I cannot disagree with their logic.

8) “if this is the position that is taken by the Israelis, there is not footing for them to stand on and they have no right decrying the illegality of Palestinian actions and should accept that the Palestinians are simply disregarding international law in the same way the Israelis are. With no law...anything goes.”

But as it stands, anything goes only for one party. Israel is not asking international law to stop the terrorism, just as it does not abide by the same law that calls them illegal. This is exactly the reason why they have not brought a case against the Palestinians, I would speculate.

9) “Either both parties respect the law or neither do.”

Neither party currently does, and yet international attention and condemnation focuses only on one party. That is where I see the problem.

10) “if the Israelis are not going to acknowledge and follow the ruling of the ICJ, they cannot claim that Palestinian terrorists are violating anymore than the morality of the Israeli government, for their is no claim of illegality that is not totally hypocritical.”

I agree totally with this statement. However, they can make a moral argument to countries whose values and morality they share.

11) “This is the position that the Israeli government is taking. If one wants to support that position, I only want to hear one argue that the Palestinians are doing things that don't agree with the Israeli political philosophy, since one cannot take any sort of legal or ethical stance in terms of international law and the international system of treaties without being totally hypocritical.”

I do make such a claim, but would add that it violated my own conception of morality and that conception agreed upon by much of the Western world, not just Israel’s.


chris l pettit - 9/28/2004

Hey Buddy...to cite an article detailing what for my money is the huge problem in the UN system...

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&;categ_id=5&article_id=8775

I do not agree with all of what is said...but almost. i would love to hear your reaction to what is articulated.

Cheers

CP
www.wicper.org


chris l pettit - 9/28/2004

Mr. Brody...as usual, your lack of knowledge betrays you. As in every case before the ICJ, the Israelis had the right to have an ad hoc judge of their choice on the ICJ. This would have given them two sympathetic judges, including the US judge, and the decision would have been 13-2 instead of 14-1. While you are correct that the ICJ takes nominations on a regional basis, the Israelis have as much of a chance as anyone to have a judge appointed, as the process goes through an impartial judicial commission before it even gets to the GA and the SC. Any member can then challenge the appointment of a judge, but very rarely is an appointment denied. one of the rare cases is when a SC member uses its veto power...which has happened a grand total of once, by the US to axe the reappointment of Judge CG Weeramantry, one of the most esteemed jurists the court has ever known. Citing Dershowitz for support will not get you much sympathy in international law circles, as most international lawyers and judges find him to be a plagarist who is weak on scholarship and long in political ideology, especially when it comes to his Zionist intolerances. Please find a better source of support.

Adam...very good points...I do disagree with a couple.

The fact that the ICJ has not decided a case regarding terrorism and the palestinians...or any illegality for that matter...is that Israel and the US have never brought one!! The international community cannot block states from bringing cases...that is why the argument of bias makes no sense. The ICJ has never and would never turn down a case on ideological grounds.

You are fully entitled to your skeptical view of Palestinian action. I actually agree with you that there is definitely a public relations position involved in this. nevertheless, this is just concentrating on the cynical motives of one party, and not the objectivity and impartiality of the ICJ. While the motive behind Palestinian action may be totally cynical...which I do not believe it is...maybe 80% cynical, but also wanting to have a definitive legal ruling that can be applied as precedent and cannot be argued against as a political decision...the fact that the ICJ decision is not politically motivated against Israel is extremely important. i would ask you to note that in the quote you cite, I said nothing of Palestinian intentions, but only addressed the precedent being set, and the resorting to legal options as a good thing. For me the Palestinian intentions are a value judgment of which there will be many differing opinions.

I understand your questioning the legitimacy of the process, but I still don't see it. What does the bias of the GA have to do with the ICJ? Israel and the US can still bring cases regarding terrorism by state actors. The validity of the rationale behind the wall can be adjudicated. There is no bias on the part of the judges, therefore it is not similar to white judges with ideological bias in the South (political appointees I might add...more bias), but is truly an impartial forum. I just don't see how you can question the legal authority of the COurt...especially on moral grounds.

As for your fifth point, I have no disagreement with the political ramifications that you cite regarding both Sudan and the Palestinians. however, I need to make clear that what you cite is not international law or legal doctrine in any way. You cite the response of the international community and self interested nation states, which makes the problem again one of the political power policy of the nation states and their reluctance to obey and enforce the rule of law. That is the problem with the international system as it exists...too many states are unwilling to acknowledge the full authority of the international legal system and will only enforce it if it suits their purposes. This is the paucity of basing an international system on nation state sovereignty. It is not a problem of the international legal system. The states all agree to be bound by the Conventions that are signed, as well as customary international law by being signatories to the UN Charter and the various treaties and Conventions. your problem seems to be not with the international legal system and international law, but rather with the actions of the nation states and the paucity of the international system...which is not the topic of the article. i say this not to be disrespectful in any way, but just to illustrate the difference between the power politics policy versus what is an objective system of international law decided by impartial judicial bodies. Therefore, the disagreement does not lie with the decision or the structure of international law, but the paucity of the international system and the self interest of nation states and their willingness to only listen to those decisions that make sense to their policies of power politics. So if the US or Israel wants legal precedent decrying the atrocities of Palestinians, they are more than welcome to bring a case before the ICJ and it would be adjudicated in an impartial fashion. i would again point out that it would happen to be contrary to the power politics of both nations, as much of what they are doing is illegal in terms of international law and neither wants to add to the vast legitimacy of the international legal process by submitting to it.

israel's response is a political doctrine and does not constitute a legal argument, as the Israelis had every right to have an ad hoc judge on the ICJ panel as well as to bring a case against the Palestinians. As a legal document, it is irrelevant and baseless. The ideological stances and moral judgements made in the document belie its status as nothing more than a policy document meant to disrespect the rule of law...point 4 you made that we both agree upon. If the political ideology is such...things are hopeless in terms of achieving anything other than a world based on might makes right ideology where all hope of legality is lost. if this is the position that is taken by the Israelis, there is not footing for them to stand on and they have no right decrying the illegality of Palestinian actions and should accept that the Palestinians are simply disregarding international law in the same way the Israelis are. With no law...anything goes. Either both parties respect the law or neither do. if the Israelis are not going to acknowledge and follow the ruling of the ICJ, they cannot claim that Palestinian terrorists are violating anymore than the morality of the Israeli government, for their is no claim of illegality that is not totally hypocritical. This is the position that the Israeli government is taking. If one wants to support that position, I only want to hear one argue that the Palestinians are doing things that don't agree with the Israeli political philosophy, since one cannot take any sort of legal or ethical stance in terms of international law and the international system of treaties without being totally hypocritical. This is what I mean by the international system applies universally. Either you accept it or you dont. You can;t just accept it when it applies to you, since that eliminates any legal or ethical basis and returns one to the realm of power politics.

Thus is the decision we are looking at.

CP
www.wicper.org


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/28/2004

A good point, well taken.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/28/2004

Peter,
As always, a thought-provoking post. A few comments, with the caveat that I am not referring to you at all in some of my comments below:
1) “… that does not mean that we have to accept such imprecision, especially when there is deliberately deceptive and dangerous agenda behind it.”

Frankly, as one who has followed the conflict for many years, it seems to me like Sharon and the Likud party have become convenient euphemisms to use when referring to Israel, and sometimes even Jews (I certainly do not include you in this, merely more generally speaking). For example, the Barak government was equally despised by many, and the conspiracy theories surrounding American interest in Israeli affairs certainly was not born on the election of Sharon. You are correct, Israel is something of a “third rail” in this country, but it is not for any nefarious reason, as some (but again, not you) have claimed. It is for the simple reason that, like many other untouchable issues, those who care deeply about it are more likely to vote on that issue than those who do not.

2) “It makes no sense to talking about "ending" terrorism - you might as well talk about ending the common cold, or ending lying by politicians running for reselection. Unless, that is, one is a politician running for reselection BY using a Big Lie like "War on Terrorism".

I agree completely. Terrorism is a tactic, not an entity and pretending that it is some monolith that can be defeated is simply a rhetorical tactic designed to give credibility to virtually any foreign policy action, no matter how disastrous.

3. The actions of the U.S. are key to the success of the international institutions; a fortunate/unfortunate/inescapable reality of geopolitics.

I agree with this as well. This is why we should be using these institutions for the better by following their mandates and insisting others do the same rather than ignoring all of our international obligations and then threatening war with others who do the same.

http://www.slate.com/id/2107047/


Derek Charles Catsam - 9/27/2004

Peter --
You and I have done this fight so often as to become a cliche when we engage, so I'll just ask you to answert this question, which I mean in good faith and in earnest, and for which i obviously do not expect a complete or comprehensive answer:
What would your conception of Israel be if you were to have your druthers? You can think both in terms of Israel qua Israel or US policy or both. (Well, I don't mean to sound pedantic -- you can conceive of it however you please.) I ask in this way because I think it is easy to misrepresent one another on this question. I believe in a strong Israel, yes, but I am not a Sharon supporter in toto, I'd be a Labourite were I an israeli citizen, and most strong Israeli governments have not been Likud.
I'd just be curious, because it seems that i know much more about what you oppose vis a vis Israel and it might be both helpful and humanizing to have a discussion rather than a tirade and further to know what you stand for in terms of your vision of the Middle East.
dc


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/27/2004

Peter,
I am not sure why specifying the current PM would be more accurate than simply saying "Israel." After all, it is not uncommon to simply ascribe the decisions of a national leader to the country as a whole. Thus, the BBC regularly refers to US action in Iraq, not Bush's actions in Iraq.

As for the second suggestion, this too seems to be uneccessary. After all, it is not just US interests that the article is dealing with, but the world, since according to the article, it is international institutions that may be the answer to ending terrorism, not just US actions and problems.

Respectfully,
Adam


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/27/2004

The following is Israel’s response to the ruling. A complete reading of the speech of Israel’s UN ambassador may help to appreciate (not to say agree with) the Israeli perspective.
“Simply put, the Assembly put the wrong question before the wrong body, and in so doing made it more difficult for the Court, even with the best will in the world, to reach a fair, balanced and helpful response. As noted by Judge Kooijmans of the Netherlands, by politicizing the Court, the Assembly turned this judicial organ into an actor on the political stage. By being drawn into a partisan procedure, the Court has become the latest victim of the Palestinian political campaign, and it is the worse for it.
All those States that expressed concern about this misuse of the advisory process should now be wary of allowing this process to dictate the international agenda. There are already worrying indications that the request last December was a test case, a precedent for further abuse of the Court. It would be a grave mistake to allow this essentially political maneuver to undermine the prospects for progress on the ground. And it would be equally dangerous for the Assembly's actions to be viewed as rewarding such a misguided and politically motivated recourse to the Court.
Key States also warned that isolating one issue out of a complex conflict reserved for political negotiations could only lead to a distorted result. They warned of the lack of legitimacy inherent in a process that placed the victims of terrorism on trial, but spared the murderers of any judicial scrutiny. And they warned that any opinion reached as a result of such a skewed process could only lead to politicization and the misrepresentation and misuse of the law with ramifications well beyond the confines of our conflict. These warnings were all too real, but they were not heeded.

Israel is dismayed that in the 60 plus pages of the opinion, it was deemed inappropriate to seriously address the brutal terrorism that innocent Israeli civilians are facing, or the ongoing refusal of the Palestinian leadership to bring that terrorism to an end. Those crimes are the very reason that the fence is being erected, and the Court's silence in this regard is deafening. While realizing the constraints placed on the Court by the distorted question and the partial dossier placed before it, we find this glaring omission legally inexplicable and morally inexcusable.
We note the deep concerns expressed by Judge Higgins of the United Kingdom, Judge Owada of Japan and others, about the failure to declare in the clearest terms that Palestinian terrorism directed at Israeli civilians is a violation of the basic tenets of international humanitarian and human rights law. We agree that this failure fundamentally undermines the balance and credibility of the opinion.

Despite Israel's official objections, there was extensive reliance on a dossier that not only contained inaccuracies and critical omissions but misrepresented Israel's legal position. The Palestinians and certain other parties appearing before the Court grossly distorted the nature of the fence, its purpose and its actual route.
No account was taken of the terrorist threat, no account was taken of the significant changes that continue to be made to the route of the fence; no account was taken of the binding decisions of Israel's Supreme Court, no account was taken of the fact that humanitarian arrangements have been vastly enhanced and continue to be improved.
The views expressed by the ICJ do not relate to the legal authority to erect the fence in principle, but to a "specific course" which the Court has presumed to exist by relying primarily on the selective and one-sided information with which it was supplied. The Court has reached its opinion on this specific question "on the material before it" - but the material before it refers, in large measure, to a fence that does not exist. Indeed, even if the information before the Court had been accurate when presented, it does not reflect the actual route of the fence that is under consideration today.
Examining the legality of the route demands a detailed proportionality assessment. It requires specific knowledge of topographical, security, environmental and humanitarian considerations at each section of the fence. It requires a thorough appreciation of the precise scope of terrorist attacks that Israelis face and the manner in which the specific route chosen has proven an effective means for thwarting those attacks. Such analysis cannot be based solely on reports about the alleged humanitarian impact of the fence - which are themselves outdated and alarmingly inaccurate. As Judge Buergenthal notes, in the absence of such a detailed and serious examination, it is simply impossible to reach definitive legal conclusions.

become abundantly clear: the fence works. In those places where the fence has been erected it has succeeded in making it far more difficult for terrorists to take innocent life and sabotage the peace process. Scores of suicide attacks have been thwarted the latest just two days ago. Hundreds of lives have been saved. There has been a dramatic reduction of over 90% in successful terrorist attacks, a 70% reduction in citizens killed, and an 85% reduction in the number of wounded - all of which can be attributed directly to the security fence.”

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Israels_Response.asp


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/27/2004

Chris,
As always, an intelligent and thought-provoking post. Allow me to address some of your comments.

1) “The fact that the Palestinians embraced the legal process is something that I find to be heartening because it establishes definitive legal precedent that cannot be accused of political or ethnic bias.”

I disagree. The Palestinians have not chosen the legal process as a substitute for wanton murder, they have chosen it (in my humble opinion) as yet another international public relations effort designed to harm Israel, which of course if perfectly understandable given their circumstances. Had the Palestinians renounced terrorism in favor of the legal process, they would have my sympathy and support. As of now however, they may only have my sympathy.

2) “I asked before and will ask again for you to demonstrate any evidence you have that shows that any of the estemmed jurists on the ICJ, or ICC for that matter, have any anti-Israel bias.”

I have no such evidence that the judges demonstrated any bias in their decisions. Nevertheless, given the situation in the conflict, the international tolerance of Palestinian terrorism, and the anti-Israel bias among the GA, I simply cannot give moral authority to the ICC’s court decision. This Is not because they were wrong to condemn the barrier, but because no similar condemnation has been asked of it for the rationale for the barrier’s existence.

3) “You might not like the application of the law, but it applies to all states and it is up to impartial judiciaries to interpret it, not self interested states and politicians.”

But if those judiciaries can only hear cases given to it by self-interested states and politicians, than the decision is just as bias, even if the legal justification is valid. For example, in American history, if blacks were convicted for a legitimate crime, but the same crime committed by a white person never even made it to court because the police never made the arrest, or the prosecution dropped all charges, it would not be the bias of the judge that I question, but the legitimacy of the process. So too is it here.

4) “The author is right to say that the continued resistance to the internationally recognized "rule of law" and the ICJ as the World Court is a further destruction of the international system and the "rule of law", and the continued imposition of might makes right power politics upon the world without regard to legality in any way, shape, or form.”

Of that, we are in agreement.

5) “When one cannot argue the impartiality of judges and the fact that the international law applies to all states, and that all states in the UN agree to be party to that law, one can only say that they disagree on ideological grounds. one is entitled to that view, but still must follow the "rule of law" articulated universally by the international community...that is unless you buy into the whole legal positivism approach which has nothing to do with standards of law whatsoever and has everything to do with who has the power...”

I do disagree on ideological grounds, however that is not the sole basis of my claim. I disagree with your premise that international law applies to all states, I do not believe it does. I believe, for example, that the Palestinians are not at all bound to international law, or at least no international body has chosen to apply it to them to my knowledge. Thus, the law is not universal in any way, as the people of Sudan (among others) have known for many years.


stephen Brody - 9/27/2004

Is it really any surprise that Israel doesn’t offer any deference to ICJ opinions?

No Israeli has ever been allowed to serve as a regular sitting Justice on the ICJ.

Why is that?

Because until very recently Israel was the only nation admitted to the UN, but not allowed membership in any of the UN Regional Groups.

So what, you may ask.

Well, ICJ Justices are nominated by the Regional Groups. This system effectively excluded Israeli jurists from nomination to the ICJ. Thus, as Alan Dershowitz has written, the ICJ has treated the Israeli’s much like the Court system in Mississippi during the 30’s, which excluded Blacks from serving as judges, treated African Americans.

No court system can credibly dispense justice to a group or nation that is barred from participating in the administration of that justice.


chris l pettit - 9/27/2004

Just wanted to remind you that, as in any legal forum, the ICJ (or ICC, or any international tribunal) is only able to exercise jurisdiction over cases brought before it. This means that the nation states themselves, the Security Council, or the General Assembly have to bring the case before the ICJ. As far as I know, the ICJ has never turned down a case without at least a vociferous debate regarding the jurisdiction of the Court and the international ramifications of the case, even if the Court ultimately decided that they did not have jurisdiction. To lament that the ICC or ICJ is not doing enough about the human rights abuses in the world is to lament the fact that self interested nation states are too worried that the ICJ or ICC might actually apply the true "rule of law" instead of the power based political "rule of law" utilised by nation states, such as the US and in the case of the wall, Israel. It is not a problem with the international legal system or its bases, but rather of the paucity of the nation state system.

if states would resort to legal bodies and impartial tribunals such as the ICC (individuals) or ICJ (states), there would be a better non-violent outlet for dispute resolution. That being said, state governments seem to be too power hungry, self interested, and nationalistic to actually realize their place as PART of the international community in which they give up some of their sovereignty and submit to international law. The fact that the Palestinians embraced the legal process is something that I find to be heartening because it establishes definitive legal precedent that cannot be accused of political or ethnic bias. THe law is neutral and applies to all state parties.

I asked before and will ask again for you to demonstrate any evidence you have that shows that any of the estemmed jurists on the ICJ, or ICC for that matter, have any anti-Israel bias. I do not think you will find anything in their writings to support your theory, and, on the contrary, will only find pro-Israeli bias from the US judge. These are impartial jurists looking to uphold the international legal framework, not political lackeys. if you have evidence to the contrary I would like to see it. A decision against Israel that properly applies international law is not that evidence.

When you speak of moral legitimacy, I will also say that the international legal framework, like all legal frameworks, is designed to rise above, in the best way possible, political, religious, and cultural biases. You might not like the application of the law, but it applies to all states and it is up to impartial judiciaries to interpret it, not self interested states and politicians. If you can find bias, as I stated above, then you may have a case. in this instance, I do not thikn you have a leg to stand on. We can debate the bias or lackthereof in the UN General Assembly, but I do not think that you can ever show bias in the international "rule of law" or in the esteemed jurists of the ICJ (unless in favor of Israel).

The author is right to say that the continued resistance to the internationally recognized "rule of law" and the ICJ as the World Court is a further destruction of the international system and the "rule of law", and the continued imposition of might makes right power politics upon the world without regard to legality in any way, shape, or form.

When one cannot argue the impartiality of judges and the fact that the international law applies to all states, and that all states in the UN agree to be party to that law, one can only say that they disagree on ideological grounds. one is entitled to that view, but still must follow the "rule of law" articulated universally by the international community...that is unless you buy into the whole legal positivism approach which has nothing to do with standards of law whatsoever and has everything to do with who has the power...

Respectfully...

good to chat

CP
www.wicper.org


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/27/2004

The legitimacy, military necessity, and morality of Israel’s barrier is certainly open to disagreement between rational people. That being said, there are two points of some significance in this article that I wish to contest:

1) “Questions like this do not intend in any way to condone terrorism but rather to stimulate an investigation of how the creation and strengthening of international institutions might help prevent terrorism by providing non-violent alternatives through which people can channel their grievances.”

The author seems to be implying that the ICC helps prevent terrorism “by providing non-violent alternatives through which people can channel their grievances.” However, I find this somewhat of a distortion of recent history. Since the start of the Intafadah (sp), there has been no indication that groups such as Hamas, among others, want to use anything short of horrific murder to achieve their objectives.

It is almost as if the ICC route was the first to be addressed, and the past several years never occurred. My point is simply that if the terrorism suddenly stopped, and the Palestinians opted to use non-violent resistance (up to and including the UN), there would be no barrier and if there were, the international community would be wise to do anything in its power to force Israel to tear it down.

As it stand however, so long as the terrorism continues, and the international community remains tolerant of it at best, in my opinion) I cannot subscribe to the belief that the ICC actually acts as an alternative to terror, rather than the diplomatic compliment of it.


2) “By undermining the ICJ, Sharon is…undercutting the Court's vital role as an impartial mediator in the international realm.”

Although related to my point above, I cannot view the ICC as an “impartial mediator.” Perhaps other countries have not asked it to intervene, or perhaps other cases bear no relevance to international law, but one cannot help but notice the plethora of massive human rights abuses that transcend national borders all over the world, with no action taken by the ICC and even less by the international community. That Israel alone should receive the brunt of an ICC ruling, the sane state that receive almost obsessive attention with other international organizations, calls into question the ICC’s legitimacy on this issue. Not legitimacy in a legal sense mind you, since I am sure other posters will point out the legality of the ruling and the ICC. However, the court lacks the moral legitimacy to accept such a case and make such a ruling, in my opinion, and as such, I cannot support pressuring Israel to abide by it.

Just to close on this final point, the above discussion is one that is separate from the question of whether the barrier is immoral, or effective, which an entirely separate discussion.

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