Blogs > HNN > Michael Walzer's Tortured Ethics

Jul 26, 2006 3:25 pm

Michael Walzer's Tortured Ethics

Mr. LeVine is professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture, and Islamic studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of the forthcoming books: Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil; and Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. He is also a contributor, with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, to Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation. Click here to access his homepage.

In a recently posted piece that has drawn significant attention as one of the best defenses yet penned of Israel's actions in Lebanon, world-renown Princeton University Philosopher Michael Walzer argued that Israel's overall strategy fit the criterion for a Just War, despite the disproportionate civilian toll its attacks have taken and the wholesale destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure that came with it. (See for the posting.)

Walzer's article, and the logic and argumentation it contains, reflect the thinking of the liberal, or Democratic establishment about the current war in Lebanon. His ideas are crucial because his reputation attaches to them a legitimacy that allows the liberal/Democratic establishment to continue with its policy of supporting Israel regardless of its actions, which is certainly a prudent course to take if one is interested primarily in winning the 2006 mid-term elections.

But if one is really interested in “the ethics of battle,” as his article is titled, then Walzer's arguments are frighteningly simplistic, inaccurate, and veering towards the bigoted. That someone of his stature could write such a piece is a sad testament to the state of liberalism and the Democratic establishment in the United States today (I'm less sure what this says about the philosophical profession, and hope that other philosophers will correct the perception that it too has gone to hell). Moreover, it provides fresh evidence for why President Bush continues to succeed in pushing America's foreign policy agenda towards the Right despite the ostensible failure to achieve most of his goals -- a move, however, that this article makes clear is only quantitatively and not qualitatively or substantively different from the beliefs of the so-called liberal foreign policy establishment.

To begin with, Walzer utterly fails to understand that his descriptions of Hezbollah and Hamas– an “enemy whose hostility is extreme, explicit, unrestrained, and driven by an ideology of religious hatred,” or later as a movement that “does not recognize the legal and moral principle of noncombatant immunity” could, sadly, be used to describe the views of the Israeli government and the IDF towards Palestinians, and now Lebanese. Certainly Palestinians and much of the Arab world view Israel in these terms, and that perception is supported not just by the magnitude and purposefullness of Israel's attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon (which are, of course, war crimes), but its regular and systematic attacks on similar Palestinian targets as well long before the current crisis.

What is openly discussed in the Israeli press – the deep prejudice at the heart of Israeli society and policies, which go back decades to the core of Zionism as a militant nationalist movement (as the Israeli sociologist Gerhson Shafir describes it), the racist language often used to describe even Palestinian citizens of the state (“a cancer” according to a former Education Minister), not to mention the predilection of the IDF to ignore “noncombatant immunity” in its operations, and the systematic and often indiscriminate use of violence against Palestinians practiced by the Israeli military, are all absent in Walzer's discussion.

Indeed, when Walzer asks “how does anyone fight an enemy like that?” he seems blind to the fact that it is just this exasperated question that is asked by the likes of Hamas as a prelude to justifying its own terroristic activities. Similarly, in claiming that “Hamas and Hezbollah feed on the suffering their own activity brings about,” Walzer seems unaware that successive Israeli governments, and the consistent Israeli policies against allowing Palestinians anything close to real independence and freedom, have followed the same logic. Why is Walzer so blind to this point, particularly when it is a subject of such contention within Israel?

But Walzer's argument isn't just flawed in theory and ethics, it is flawed in its causality. He explains in justifying Israel's response as within the parameters for a Just War, “The most important Israeli goal in both the north and the south is to prevent rocket attacks on its civilian population, and, here, its response clearly meets the requirements of necessity.” Here he forgets that the rocket attacks were in response to the massive Israeli retaliation to the kidnapping of its soldiers. That is, they were not what prompted the Israeli retaliation, they were a response to it. Of course, this raises the question of whether Hezbollah would have launched the rocket attacks had Israel not retaliated militarily to the kdinapping of its soldiers, or had done so in a limited manner. My sense is that just as Israel was waiting for the opportunity to take out Hezbollah, Hezbollah was waiting for the chance to use its rockets. But neither potential calculus changes the factual order of events, in which Israel responded to the kidnapping of its soldiers (and action, against it must be stressed, that Israel has practiced time and time again) by launching a full scale war against the civilian population of Lebanon.

Similarly, when Walzer mentions that “some 700 rockets have been fired from northern Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal a year ago--imagine the U.S. response if a similar number were fired at Buffalo and Detroit from some Canadian no-man's-land,” his question ignores the fact that Israel has fired innumerable and far more powerful rockets into Gaza, and has killed an almost exponentially greater number of Palestinians during this period than Hamas has killed Israelis, with rockets or by other means. And Gaza is not a "no-man's-land." It is the most densely populated piece of land on earth, with well over a million people living in something approaching abject misery thanks to the occupation and now imprisonment of the Strip.

For Walzer, “the crucial argument is about the Palestinian use of civilians as shields,” and one can imagine the same would apply to Hezbollah's use of this tactic as well. But again Walzer's logic is seriously flawed. First, his belief that “when Palestinian militants launch rocket attacks from civilian areas, they are themselves responsible--and no one else is--for the civilian deaths caused by Israeli counterfire” is legally wrong. In fact, Israel, particularly as the occupying power in Palestine but also as a belligerent in this and the Lebanese conflict, has an obligation under the Hague and Geneva conventions not to indiscriminately fire at, injure or kill civilians whatever the provocation by the other side. Second, the claim that Hezbollah uses civilians as shields is not supported by the research of any independent human rights organizations (see for Stephen Zunes' point by point rebuttal of most of the charges against Hezbollah and Hamas contained in last week's Congressional resolution in support of the Israeli invasion).

In this context, when he continues by arguing that “civilians will suffer so long as no one on the Palestinian side (or the Lebanese side) takes action to stop rocket attacks” he is trying to naturalize and make an inevitable outcome of the conflict a reality -- the large scale civilian casualties from Israeli attacks -- that is neither an inevitable or an acceptable state of affairs, from a legal or moral perspective.

Continuing with this argument, Walzer explains that he has refused to sign a condemnation of the Israeli operation in Gaza because he no longer believes that they are rooted in the Israeli occupation. Indeed, the most he's willing to admit to is that “in the past, I am sure, some Palestinian attacks were motivated by the experience of occupation,” as if the rest were the result of pure hatred of Jews and Israel without a rational basis. Instead, he explains that because the attacks occurred after “Israelis departed Gaza and after the formation of a government that is (or was until the attacks) committed to a large withdrawal from the West Bank” they can only be the result a desire “to destroy Israel, a wish based on a “long-term aim that derives from a religious view of history. Secularists and pragmatists have a lot of trouble acknowledging such a view, let alone understanding it.”

It is hard to overstate the unconscious – one can imagine – chauvinism and racism underlying Walzer's remarks here, a foundation that has deep roots in the history of European and later American imperialism in the Middle East and elsewhere in the non-Western world. But before we even get to the psychology underlying the remarks, Walzer's facts are again wrong. To begin with, Walzer makes the false assumption that Israel has actually “left” Gaza. In fact, what Israel did was remove settlers, turn the Strip into a giant prison, cut off most of its economic circulation to the outside world, regularly conduct raids to capture or kill people at will and without legal justification, and otherwise make life nearly intolerable for the region's million plus inhabitants.

Second, Walzer's belief that the Israeli government was committed to a “large withdrawal from the West Bank is a bald attempt to use ambiguous language to mask a meaningless statement. What does “large" mean? To the Israeli political establishment, withdrawing from sixty percent of the West Bank would be a “large” withdrawal, but to Palestinians and the rest of the world such a percentage would be woefully inadequate. So would eighty or even ninety or ninety-three percent. Walzer must know this, so by using such obfuscating language he is clearly trying to hide what he very well knows – that the so-called “end” of the occupation of Gaza in no measure meant that the West Bank, and therefore a viable Palestinian state, was going to become a reality in the foreseeable future. In fact, most Israeli scholars of the conflict believe that the Gaza withdrawal's purpose was precisely to make it easier for Israel to avoid anything close to a comprehensive withdrawal from the West Bank. Why does Walzer not even engage these facts?

But let's move to his notion that the “long-term aim” of Hamas and Hezbollah derive from religion. What does this suggest? That their views are clearly not pragmatic – that is, rational or reasonable, the two hallmarks of modernity and modern liberal thought. And if these two movements are neither rational, nor reasonable and pragmatic, well, then, as sad as it is, Israel will likely have to take some fairly unpleasant measures to protect itself, including inflicting large scale civilian casualties and destroying the economic foundation of the two societies, in order to stop the violence.

Perhaps Professor Walzer has not read the work of Baruch Kimmerling, the dean of Israeli sociologists. If not, he should read his last book, titled, tellingly, Politicide, for that is the only logical description for the activities he is condoning, particularly in the case of Palestine. He should also read the recent compilations of militant Islamist writings and preaching, such as those of bin Laden or other al-Qa'eda leaders. Their hate-filled view of Israel bares significant resemblance to his characterization of Palestinians or Lebanese, which he clearly assumes can be used interchangeably with Hamas or Hezbollah. In fact, however, while both movements enjoy wide popular support, their extreme and conservative theological and political visions are not shared by the majority of their fellow countrywomen and men, and who have demonstrated a clear willingness to "live and let live" with Israel that is at odds with the groups' official pronouncements (a reality that leaders readily admit to in interviews).

It is such blindness – willful or not only Walzer can say – to reality that actually leads him to argue that "the Israeli response has only a short-term aim.” Does Walzer really think Israel's political and military leaders have no long term aims in this war, particularly when at the very start they said explicitly that their goal was to radically alter the status quo? Does he really think Iran and Syria have played no part in its considerations, or US strategy in the region? (For a much more accurate view of Nasrallah's likely rationale for the kidnapping, see Adam Shatz's piece in The Nation, at

Walzer ends his article with the well-worn argument that “Israel needs a partner” for peace, one which clearly doesn't exist today. That may be true, but in what way has Israel demonstrated itself to be a worthy partner for peace in the last decade, never mind the last forty years? It has violated the terms of the Oslo agreement as a matter of routine; its wholesale expansion of settlements, destructions of Palestinian homes, farms, olive orchards and other agricultural land, killings and detention of civilians, refusal to abide by any of the agreements it signed with the PA whenever it suited its interests, all suggest that Palestinians have been equally deprived of a partner for peace. In Lebanon it would seem that Israel is on stronger ground vis-a-vis Hezbollah, but in reality it was precisely the last minute refusal of the Sharon government to honor the terms of its 2004 prisoner exchange with hezbollah (Israel refused to release three prisoners whom it had already agreed to release) that led Hezbollah leader Nasrallah to warn that the group “reserved the right to kidnap more Israeli soldiers” to use to exchange for the prisoners left behind. Indeed, the very name Hezbollah gave the recent kidnapping operation, “Truthful Purpose,” alludes to Nasrallah's determination to keep his promise to force Israel to complete its end of the original deal.

Walzer closes his article by calling on the international community to “sponsor and support” Palestinian and Lebanese governments that can make real peace with Israel. This is certainly good advice, but it will prove worthless if at the same time the international community, and particularly the United States, do not sponsor and support an Israeli government that is equally committed to reaching a just and lasting peace in the region. And until, at the very least, American liberals are willing to demand our government do just that, the peace Walzer seeks will remain a distant dream, while the wars that continue will be anything but just.

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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman

It is not enough, actually it is utterly meaningless, to say :"it is bad that people are dying."
However NO LESS is expected from Israel nor more is expected from you.
It is a long haul and a very costly historical mistake you have made and way that you have chosen.
Zionism did the Jewish people NO favour!

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Still after that chair at Brandeis U?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Begin did NOT take the call (from President Reagan)" should tell the American public a great deal about Israel.
What made Begin turn down a call from the President of the USA without whose military, political and financial lifeline Israel would have perished??
The answer lays in the Walt & Meirshammer essay.

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Nor in joining the Mossad?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

So you vented your anger on the Palestinian people?
In a "just war" no doubt!

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Support Israel , crimes and all, OR you are a JEW HATER!
What happened to anti Semite is that not strong enough?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

1-Does being "the only democratic state in the era" give Israel a license to kill and pillage at will?
2-Being "democratic" is well and good for its "citizens" does it follow that it is "just" for Israel to kill those that DO NOT live in a democratic state?
3-Is the universal value of a human life a function of whether he lives in a democratic or non democratic state?

Your post, Mr Amitz, implies an affirmative answer to all three questions.

4- Is that, living or not living in a "democratic" state, the present day universal classification of humankind into "goyim" and "jew"? Or is it only a regional classification?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Where to Start" indeed?

The only valid starting point is to know the way Israel came into existence and the impact its mode of birth had on all its latter policies and practices.
Israel forced its way into Palestine and the region by dislocating, dispossessing ,disfranchising the Arab Palestinian people and supplanting them with aliens selected and gathered on a purely racist/confessional basis.
That led to:
1-An implacable belief that nothing can be achieved , or maintained, except by the use of force.
2-An implacable belief that racist/racial criteria shall be used to allow or disallow actions that affect its "nationals" and affect others.
3-A fully conscious and deeply subconscious realization that its mode of birth will never be accepted nor tolerated by its environment hence the vital necessity to acquire and maintain its, mainly military, supremacy over its environment.
4-The inescapable conclusion that that supremacy can only be maintained by isolating that environment and forging an anti environment, ie anti Arab/Moslem, alliance with the Judeo/Christian West starting with the USA.
Does not everything we see follows from that?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Too bad

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You should know better than to repeat such discarded propaganda with an audience like HNN readers and posters; you can use it at an elementary school but it is really insulting to use it here.

"The right to migrate is a basic human right," you add; with or without the approval of the host country you say Childish and really much below your usually low standard.
Does your failure to comment on the impact Israel's mode of birth had on its policies and practices imply concurrence?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You should know better than to repeat such discarded propaganda with an audience like HNN readers and posters; you can use it at an elementary school but it is really insulting to use it here.

"The right to migrate is a basic human right," you add; with or without the approval of the host country you say NOT.
Childish and really much below your usually low standard.
Does your failure to comment on the impact Israel's mode of birth had on its policies and practices imply concurrence?

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman has had his hey day defending Walzer's defense of the morality of Israel's war and the means and objectives used to conduct it.
That Israel's war is "ethically" conducted according to both comes as no surprise to us noting their confessional association and/or background.
How can it be "unethical" if the victim is a goyim (goy) be he an old man, a woman or a child and the killer is of "the chosen people"?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Then, if you care so much head overseas! First read up on the Merkava info provided above/ join the IDF as a tanker/ learn how to put the behemoth chariot in drive forward-reverse. In that way you can run over small Arab children, then back-up over the tots to be sure you got 'em.

As a Jew you need to expand on your learned history. Read up on the machinations/cross dealings of socialist/ Zionist Moses Hess and publisher propagandist Theodor Herzl. The immigration wave began in 1881. Take a look at Herzl's 1886 'Der Judenstaat' and his organizing the first World Zionist Congress. Look at subsequent immigration surges up to the 1917 crooked dealing Balfour Declaration and following settlers that produced riots/attacks on the British by Irgun (King David Hotel). The 'white' skin European Jew made a better cosmetic appearance than the 'dark' skin inferior Arab so killing Arabs was no more of a moral question that exterminating vermin.

Fully understand the ramifications of the Ottoman collapse and the British Protectorate era. The 1939 'White Paper' that attempted to limit the immigration advance. Unless, one had money/connections to grease their own transit. The Holocaust was a sinful tragedy against God without parallel in scope/ brutality/ ignorance/ depravity and the actions of the British in preventing the Jews fleeing central Europe was despicable. The Struma charter ship sinking (1942) by a Soviet submarine (790) lost is now only a mere sad footnote in history.

Following WWII the combined acts of British/ US in refusing to resettle Jewish refugees is quite troublesome and a disgrace. The 1947 Exodus immigration ship incident is a prime example of the Brits prejudice that turned the court of world opinion in favor of the Jewish immigration cause but, had severe/ brutal ramifications for the Arabs. Why not make accommodation for both as there was enough land/ money? Why not a joint Jewish/Arab state? Why was racial purity at the forefront of the Zionist motivations for the Israel model state? The same racial purity/ ideals/treatments learned at the hands of the Nazi's perhaps?

That the US had little to do with Israel prior to the 1973 Israeli-Arab War is well documented. The anti-Jewish contingent from Washington to Wall Street saw the Jew as competition in the fields of business-commerce. Why not bottle them up? It was business, mind you, nothing personal. WASP Americans don't do anything unless a profit ROI is maximized. However, Israel is a state with policies driven from a national perspective while Jew is a race or is it a religion? I am unsure. The two need separated if any solutions/progress is to be made in solving the Arab dilemma.

As to your Dimona bomb building explanation it was Jewish scientists who assisted in building the American A-bomb and successor H. The dealings of Manhattan Projects Klaus Fuchs in assisting the Soviet effort in atomic arming is a bothersome episode. As is the works of the Rosenbergs and offspring Jonathan Pollard.

As an American of Irish-Italian descent I can assure you that I care not one smidgen as to what happens in the 'homelands' of my dead ancestors and share absolutely no loyalty or longing for their mothers milk. I am an American first/foremost/ plain & simple/always. My only concern is this country and her well being. To paraphrase the saviour, Lord Jesus Christ 'the hungry in this nation will always be with us.' US aid dollars are like all of our worthless paper money, printed at will/unbacked by any real collateral, other than the engraved stamping 'United States of America'. Yet, it is the currency of the realm and as such open to debate for all taxpayers.

This whole issue must have struck a nerve as witnessed in the writings of Charles Krauthammer in Friday's WaPo as he vainly tried to defend/ spin the Jewish loss of face to resell middle America on the continued support of Israel. For this poster it is a no sale. I know when a bill of goods is being pushed my was and smell shysterism a mile away. Let Israel fend for herself. Then we'll see if she is a worthy success or a failed state. I say keep our tax dollars at home. No more nursemaid/ hand holding/ bomb supply shipments by this US taxpayer so that little girls in golden earrings can be dismembered/disemboweled by IDF air strikes/ artillery.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


First off, I did not accuse Jews (plural) of anything of the sort. I accused you (singular) of a self induced persecution complex. I hold no animosity/disdain for any group that walks this blue-green ball. However, I do hold deep feelings of mistrust/ detestation for certain individuals that I have had the displeasure to have run across during this lifetime. I judge each person as a singular individual based on actions/ merits of that person not, the group/ race/ religion/ sex or class that the person is a part of/ identifies with.

For example, I find Mel Gibson, the individual, to be a despicable cur yet, admire/enjoy the handful of Australians that I know. It is unfortunate, that the level of disdain that you have exhibited here rivals anything that drunken imbecile Gibson spewed. Further, I have a handful of close Jewish friends and one in particular whom I snow ski with to which I have a great deal of admiration/affection that would never accuse me of being hateful toward anyone let alone someone of the Jewish race just because they were a Jew.

Secondly, you write. "The solution is very simple: turn your hate to the real problems of the world and leave the Jews alone."

Cry me a river. You sound more like a petulant child than a man. Toughen the F-up you GD twit! This is not a solution to the Jew/Arab crisis and since my tax dollars, roughly $125 annually, heads east as part of the $3.8 BILLION in aid the US shells out to Israel yearly I'll talk up all I want. Send me a check for $1,000 that I've wasted over the last (10) years and I'll call it even to leave you/ Israel alone.

Obviously you are a highly intelligent individual of great conviction/ unwavering steadfast belief in your position/ history/ culture and protection of these valued possessions with your all. That is tremendously admired from this end of the wire but, you need to drop the pity poor me routine and get in the game. Either, generate some solutions to this problem or pack your rags for Israel (if you are not already there/physically able) to join/fight for the IDF.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Gimme back my crown as I am not ready to abdicate my throne quite yet.

In all honesty, it appears from your posts that it is you that has the problem/ issue/ self doubt/ pent-up frustration and inner hate that you rail so hard against/ accuse others of. Is it true that in the deepest reaches of the conscience mind we are/exhibit/mirror what we dislike/ fear most/ fight hardest against? One thing this site lacks is a true hater. Maybe, you could fill that role/ void for us? Hopefully not, as you do not appear to be the type.

The most ardent defenders of Israel at HNN, someone like Mr. Friedman, whom I have the utmost respect for as a man/ great intellect/ talent/ class & good heart would be hard pressed to back up your claim of identifying any Jew hater here. Although, I cannot/should not speak for him let's just say it is a gut feeling. Conversely, a bona fide defender of the Palestinian cause such as Mr. Baker whom, I have equal respect for as a truly great man/ intellect/ gentleman with an exceptionally compassionate heart has never demonstrated the least bit of animus let alone, anything that could be construed as hate.

We come here to discuss issues of extreme urgency/importance to share ideas/ thoughts/ feelings and maybe, in the heat of debate, have a little fun/ few laughs/express (hopefully, well taken) sarcasm/barbs.

Personally, your definition of 'Jew hater' is a total disconnect. I could not identify one member of this community who does not care about each/any of the troublesome issues that you highlight. A true 'Jew hater' by my definition is someone who attacks Jews personally/individually like the Seattle killer or spray paints swastikas/desecrates Synagogues or writes hateful screeds or incites others to hate/do so. This site has had a few true 'Jew haters' post here in the past but, they are usually sent packing very quickly because the caliber of intellectual that comment here makes easy work of those types.

For one to ignore the faults/ shortcomings of Israel or pretend that she wears a spotless white dress while only the pitch black dress of the Palestinian is unable to cover the stain of blood is dishonest and a liar. The problems we face shares equal blame/ blood drops upon the hands of both Jew and Arab alike. Only when we come to this realization can we move forward to drive credible/ long lasting/ equitable solutions to enable all to move on in unison/ create a better life that the children of both Jew and Arab can partake with pride/ respect/ togetherness and common decency.

You may feel after reading this rant that I am full of shit and you're probably correct but, here is my gift to you this evening;">;hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=5

Kepner-Tregoe (KT) created/perfected in the late 70's/early 80's for problem solving/ decision making is a tool that many world class businesses utilize to ID root causes/ generate solutions to complex/multi-faceted problems. Governments, always behind the curve, are just beginning to explore these type models. Read-up and insert the Israel/Palestinian dilemma into the model/formula. You will be surprised at what root causes ID/issues to forefront/ go to the wayside and solutions generated. Not all the answers are here but, it will provide you with a better balance/ perspective/ outlook and understanding of this problems complexity.

Have a good night.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


If you're looking for 'Jew haters' why not head over to Russia to see a resurgent Neo-Nazi movement attack/ kill/ beat the piss out of innocent Jewish peoples there? This is HATRED.

You need to stop confusing/ blending Jew with Israel. Someone who is questioning of Israel and it's suspected racist/ militaristic/ mistreatment of Arabs and usurpation in 1947 of their land/ homes without restitution or making reasonable accommodation does not make that person a 'Jew hater'. Anti-Zionist or Israel hater is the truer term.

Whether $125.00 of $1.25 it's still my tax dollars and I pay close attention to the CBO/ Fed/ IRS with a jaundiced eye. When 1 in 8 of my fellow Americans go hungry/ under nourished each day while giving $3.8 Billion in US aid to a country who doesn't need it (Israel) is troublesome to say the least.

This aid totals is also only what is reported as many dollars are hidden in appropriations.

The $3.8 Billion is a lowball figure.

One thing I will grant you is that you're an expert at obfuscating/ spinning/ delay tactics/ confusing the issue/ circular logic and building strawman arguments much like Israel is doing currently under the auspices of 'W' and Condi to buy time to continue the slaughter of innocent women and children...

Hold on B'nai B'rith is at the door. I'll have to get back to you.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


I fully support Israel's right to existence and have argued her historic claims/justification to greater Jerusalem and the the general areas of Kadesh/north to Mt. Hor/south to Jaffa/east to Be'ar/west at HNN but, as a skeptic/one who enjoys debate I'll play the role of devil's advocate.

I am just as demanding of our lone resident HNN Arabist as I am of any poster here if not, more so. The actions of Arabs is just as criminal/vile as those perpetrated in the name of Israel or the United States.

As I have repeated here for the past three years the Saudi Arabian totalitarian regime is the true enemy of the United States. The funding/ support/ operations of Madrases has supplied the muscle solely responsible for the 9-11 attacks and continue to arm/ incite hate/ provide fighters battling US troops across the globe. Following 9-11, I advocated a military strike on Riyahd, not Kabul, but with 'Bandar' Bush in the White House it was off to Afghanistan then, Baghdad.

Palestinian martyrdom is unacceptable/ cowardice but, desperate people do desperate things/measures. Instead of wasting $$$ on a fence to create an Arab zoo/ menagerie the Israeli government could have won over hearts/minds providing aid to some of the 4.5M Arabs living in ghetto concentration camps worthy of Auschwitz or Dachau. Is it any wonder why these ghettos could grow a few mad bombers? What do these Arabs have to live for eeking out an existence in deplorable conditions that you make believe are resort like. Israel did this to themselves so, TFB, if they have a few insane Arab crazies that they created blow up a Tel Aviv cafe. Just use the right wing Washington DC/ Baghdad analogy and you'll get over it.

Repeat after me... Tel Aviv is safer than Washington, DC.

See, now doesn't that feel better?

Egypt/ Jordan are given an inordinate amount of US aid to prop up brutal dictatorships (Mubarak) with the promise they not attack Israel. Again, more of my tax dollars wasted on defense of Israel. The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (Heskem Shalom Yisrael-Mizraim) signed March 26, 1979 and the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (HaSekhem Ha-Shalom beyn Yisra'el Le-Yarden) signed July 25 , 1994 are the foundations/ guarantee to the US aid pie.

Personally, I believe that Israel should defend itself. If it is fit it will survive, if not it's off to the bust bin of history like a lot of other defeated or failed states. They can join the Arabs that they displaced in 1947. I am an American so I don't really care what happens to Israel especially, for a supposed ally that continually spies on my country.

Israel is armed because they have money. Many of her arms like her nuclear program (spy driven) are home grown. The Merkava Tank developed/manufactured in Israel

I agree with the withdrawal of all aid, not only Israel but, all foreign countries. There are plenty of Americans who need food/ shelter/ health care/ education/ jobs. Sorry, but I am a homer who could make even Pat Buchanan flinch...

Hold on it's the Anti-Defamation League on the phone. I'll have to get back to you.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


I have not saved any of the numerous posts from the myriad of sites since the mid-90's were my nonsense has been plastered but, I can assure you that this particular nutcase has generated crackpot solutions for a wide range of world issues/ problems/ hot spots that did not include Israel. The Kashmir is of great personal interest to which my Indian friends can attest. While they prefer to kill all Paks my solution is to create a UN administered autonomous world enclave free of both Pak/India control. As you can imagine this ideas is not well received.

In reading your recent post below, the one that scours HNN for proof that your 'Jew hater' conspiracy here actually exists, it seems to me that you are more in the mold of Dr. Joseph Goebbels than you may care to admit. A problem maker. Although, I despise all things Nazi, myself on the other hand am more of a Heinrich Himmler. A problem solver.

Unfortunately, it appears as if you are dead set on finding a 'Jew hater' here at HNN regardless, whether any exist or not. Never one to disappoint/always willing to accommodate you need not look any further than right here. I am your man. Problem solved.

Therefore, the ultimate final solution, of my own creation, that I whole heartedly endorse would be for each/every Jew and Arab to wipe each other out from the face of this planet. Square up/ kill each other until not a single man/ woman/ child remains alive of either race. This solution would be of great benefit to all mankind and relieve this ecosystem of it's greatest human burden. An accelerated Darwinistic approach to rid the earth of the foul genes that cloud the Jew/Arab pool that would undoubtedly strengthen the remainder of the species and allow the rest of us to get on with our love of life/living it to the fullest absent the unseemly Jew/Arab deadweight. Problem solved.

Now this solution does have one major drawback for you in your futile witch hunt for now am I not only a 'Jew hater' but, equally an 'Arab hater' as well. No one can solve all the worlds ills and considering the services I have rendered in surgically eliminating the planets largest cancer growth many HNN 'haters' are sure to overlook this minor faux pas.

Now what is your solution to the Jew/Arab problem?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You my friend have a serious sickness and are in need of either professional help or a dose of reality. The latter which I have tried to impart on you here however, you're being stuck on stupid and overcome by a series of maladies including consumption of self loathing/ overwhelmed in the juices of your own flaming hatred/ inflicted with delusions of persecution and a sufferer lacking any reasonable understanding of a world view outside of your own little hole has made you a terminal case.

RIP dude.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

After reading through the typical pissing match comments the last post stood out/last straw with the phrase 'Jew hater'. First, what exactly is a Jew hater? Second, the poster to whom I am thoroughly unfamiliar with, can now inherit my very own self-anointed/ duly appointed crown as the resident HNN Village Idiot.

Mr. Amitz, wear it well/with pride for it has served me well these many years. Although, it is well worn it has not lost any of it's tarnished luster.

Dr. Levine was in typical fine form tinkling on Dr. Walzer's pantleg while again offering no viable solutions of his own. Another Levine HNN gripe-fest and loss of bandwidth. Then, as if on cue, our regular HNN posters with, their inexhaustible brainpower once more wasted, in a you said/did not/did so free for all without, any viable/workable solutions generated to solve the problems takes hold. Next Sunday a new essay will play out the same 'Groundhog Day' phenomenon and the cycle will repeat itself. If only I was rapture ready as something to look forward to other than another week of Jew this/Arab that.

1.) Full/unilateral cease fire by IDF/ Hizbollah.

2.) Prisoner exchange one to one.

3.) Introduction of NATO peacekeepers not UN blue hats. Creation of a patrolled buffer zone along the Israel/Lebanon border and outskirts of Gaza.

4.) Israel full recognition of Hamas. Hamas full acceptance/recognition of Israel sovereignty/ existence rights. Later, if a successful peace is reached/holds, Mr. Olmert can consider "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL" as reward.

5.) Hizbollah full pledge to cease/desist all attacks against Israel. Israel assistance to Hizbollah in social services programs to Palestinians throughout Lebanon.

6.) USAID managed development loans for infrastructure/ business development/education targeted at Lebanese/Palestinians in Lebanon/Gaza, respectively. Improved conditions in Palestinian camps until permanent settlements can be developed.

7.) Co-developed/mingled Jewish/Arab settlements in Gaza/West Bank. Living together, even if forced, will create some much needed interdependence/harmony.

8.) Future funding from USAID contingent/only available to joint Jewish/Arab programs.

Eight points is enough for now and I have more. If any poster thinks that I am a 'Jew hater' they'd be dead wrong. An Arabist called me a Hitlerite yesterday so no man of reason can score with either of you folk. Israel has received more than enough protection/ US tax dollar aid and it is past due time to level the playing field. Only by lifting the sorry state of the Arab street can Israel realize the hard earned security she deserves while giving the downtrodden Palestinians a fair shake.

Michael Dunning - 8/7/2006

Mr. Thomas is a formidable opponent who doesn't really need cheerleading from brown-nosing gnats.
Brown-nosing gnat? Ouch. Nice use of logic, though. Agreeing with someone = brown-nosing, does it?
And why do you consider him an opponent? I realize many of you take this very seriously, but that's hardly reason to consider him anything more than a casual adversary.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/6/2006

If americans go hungry it's because of hundreds of billions aiding Europe, Japan, S.Korea not because the peanuts for Israel.
Jews blend with Israel as much as Irish with Ireland, Germans with Germany, Italian with Italy and etc., etc. If you see it orherwise it's only because of your hate.
The Russian nazis are at least sincere and express their hate openly but what's very interesting for our times is the love story between David Duke and Cindy Sheehan who's common subject is blaming the Jews. I strongly believe that your red fascist crowd is going to operate the ovens for the next Jewish holocaust.
I am a secular Jew who's Hebrew is perfect and can very well read a Hebrew prayer book. Though the quoted reason for the foundation of Israel is religious the real reason is the refusal of the Europe, UK and USA to accept the jews as a part of them. As I stated in another posting here, in 1940 the US congress refused to accept the entry into US of about 30000 European Jewish children but after about 3 months the same congress accepted the entry of a similar number of British children into the US. You may call it "love"?! After 1945 hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews returning from concentration camps were stranded in transit camps in Europe. When some of them tried to to return to Poland the Poles orginized pogroms in 1946. USA and UK refused to allow the Jews to go to USA and UK. The only place for them was the British mandate of Palestine and Israel after 1948. In 1948 no one helped Israel because the expectation was that the Arabs will finish the Jews in Israel. Only Jewish organisations helped the fighting Israeli Jews to buy some Czech weapons and to the dismay of the Americans and the Brits the "insolent" (approximate translation for the yiddish chutzpah) Jews decided to win and stay alive. USA begun to help Israel only when the soviets gave massive military and economic aid to the Arabs. The 1967 "six days war" was fought by Israel with French Mirage planes. There was no love but cold war politics.
By the way the nuclear reactor in Dimona where, allegedly, Israel built its nuclear bomb was bought from France and of course the nuclear brain was Jewish.
I am an Israeli American and I care about Israel as much as an Irish American cares about Ireland or an Italian American cares about Italy. I want a real part of my tax dollars to go to Israel not peanuts.

Jim Seth Brown - 8/6/2006

I reall think Mr. Kovachev and Mr. Amitz got this whole thing down. The world really doesnt like jews. However the one fact of this whole conflict that makes me give my undying support to the state of Israel is because if Israel gave a cease fire right now. The terror would continue and the bombs would still fall.

I guess in the end Israel is going to do what it is going to do. They already wont listen to the U.N which in my opinion is anti-israeli to begin with, and the U.S wont stop them either because they are to crucial of an ali in that region. So basically for all arabs in that region, they will always be below the state of Israel, and the only sucess they will have is in their terror campaigns. If any Arab country had the courage to fight Israel in a real war. They would be decimated just like they were in 1948, just like they were in the 6 day war, and just like they were in the yom kippur war.

Basically all I am saying is the Jews are here to stay and that no one and is going to take away their right to live again. Like what Senator John McCain's brother said "the jews are never going to go quietly again. Never. And if the world doesn't come to understand that millions of Arabs are going to die."

People that denounce Israel's actions are basically apologists for the terrorists, and sadly they dont seem to realize that these terrorists hate them too. And maybe if they lived in Israel and dealt with the daily fear that rockets are being shot indiscriminantly at the country in the hopes of killing some innocents, maybe these people will understand a little thing I like to call "reality."

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

It's not really necessary to seek an explanation beyond "blind prejudice." That one will do.

I hear Omar's sort of talk in Arab/Muslim circles with some regularity. In this universe, Brandeis is a "Jewish University"; in fact, all American universities are controlled by the Jews. Step outside of this consensus for one minute and you're branded a traitor, a golddigger, and a turncoat to the holy cause. I've heard this crap my whole life. It doesn't bother or surprise me any more.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006


You're missing the point. I just finished posting about fallacies, and here you are trying to respond to a classic case of the fallacy of poisoning the well by reasoning with the person committing the fallacy.

Like every moron of his type, Omar approaches every discussion of Israel with only one question in mine: "min warrah?" Namely: "Who stands behind him?" The question for such mentalities is never: "What are the reasons for my opponent's argument?" The question is: "What are the non-rational motivations behind my opponent's argument? What goodies is he after? I never operate by reason, so why assume that my opponent is?"

Omar is a person to whom the autonomy of the intellect has no reality--principally because he has no autonomous intellect of his own. He's a brainless anti-Zionist drone of the sort who would rather perish under Hezbollah than live under the Israelis. People like that deserve their fate. But I'm not one of them.

All I can say is: if someone gave me a chair at Brandeis, I'd take it. I just hope that Israel crushes Hezbollah before then. As for the chair at Sheikh Nasrallah University, Omar can have it--alhamdulillah.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Mr Friedman is right: tu quoque is always a fallacy and Mark LeVine repeatedly commits it in this article.

Contrary to Mr Chapman, all fallacies are fallacious whenever and however they're committed, regardless of the "collateral damage" a given fallacious argument ends up doing. If Mr Chapman thinks that such considerations only belong in the philosophy classroom, I infer that he thinks that illogic, fallacy and manipulation should reign outside of it. That such things reign at HNN is unquestionable, but that isn't really a very good argument for it.

Incidentally, on a minor note, Michael Walzer is not a professor at Princeton University, and doesn't teach in a philosophy department. He's a scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study which is located in the town of Princeton NJ but is unaffiliated with the University.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006


The first two reasons you've given are not very good reasons to take Walzer seriously. The last one is, and it's fine without the first two. World famous people with first-rate minds often say stupid things. There is no reason to take them seriously in those cases. But such people can say intelligent things--as can obscure people and even stupid people. That's precisely when you take them seriously.

If a person asks, "What reason is there to take X seriously?" I think the proper response is to ask what reason there is to take the question or the questioner seriously. The answer is: none, since the questioner hasn't given any reasons.

The only reason to take anyone seriously are the reasons they offer. It's kind of sad that one has to belabor the obvious on this topic, but I guess one does.

Peter Kovachev - 8/4/2006

You make a good point. It's easier too to define human shield cases, since proximity of combatants to civilians is measurable. The definition of "indiscriminate force," on the other hand, lends itself to interpretations.

The difference is that it's difficult and dangerous to document use of human shields by terror groups, whereas "documenting" Israel's "crimes" is much easier in over a coffee in Tel Aviv and with the help of sympathetic Israeli organizations.

William Redfern - 8/4/2006

Prof LeVine is correct that no independent human rights group has documented the use of human shields by Hezbollah. However, this may be more an artifact of their lack of effort and their choice of definitions.

In it's latest 50 page report documenting 20 occasions on which it claims Israel used indiscriminate force, it concedes, in passing, that "occasionally" Hezbollah has stored arms in or near civilan homes, and launched rockets from urban areas and near UN outposts. No systematic attempt at documenting these practices, or quantifying them, seems to have taken place. It also concedes that it's investigations have not been "comprehensive).

To rationalize the claim of no human shields with the concession listed above (about storage and firing sites), it would seem that one would have to actually strap a non-combatant to a rocket launcher to qualify as a use of a human shield by the definition implicitly adopted by Human Rights Watch.

Peter Kovachev - 8/4/2006

Mr. Dunning,

Mr. Thomas is a formidable opponent who doesn't really need cheerleading from brown-nosing gnats.

Peter Kovachev - 8/4/2006

Mr. Thomas,

No, not really "cool." That idiotic term, "Zio-Nazi," created by nose-ringed, Jew-baiting moron punks who're half your age, and your playing with the word "antisemite" to pretend, like lame-brained Islamists still do, that it means anything but Jew-hatred, are already passe concepts...I hope you also don't think that square-toed shoes are still in style.

Obviously, you felt a need to retaliate for what you assumed was merely a nasty insult, but I actually didn't throw "antisemite" as an epiphet at you; just stated an obvious fact. I would think "Jew-hater" is a much stronger and in-your-face term, one not fit for polite company, which is why an ideological comrade of yours, one Wilhelm Marr, coined his "antisemitismus." Presumably, German salon ladies blanched and dropped their kuchen at the hissing sounds of "Judenhasse."

For whatever it matters, I'm not Jewish, so trying to pluck my heart-strings over a presumed "Semitic" relation with Arabs is futile. So that you don't embarrass yourself in the future with people more important than me, terms like Semitic, Hamitic and Aryan pertain to language groups not racial or ethnic ones.

As to your opinions on the M.E. crisis, your views are of little help to anyone but your situational friends like the "Palestinians," the Arab League, Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah. They consist of the familiar "salami" approach of the defunct land-for-peace formula and the "death of thousand cuts" strategy of wars of attrition. Thankfully, where Israel is concerned, these are finally going the way of the square-toed shoe. I'm only puzzled that your hate for Israel and Jews is greater than your feeling of self-preservation or patriotism; you would actually prefer to see jihadist forces...which have you in their sights as well...score a major victory just to stick it to the Jews. Makes as much sense to me as calling a massive artillery barrage to knock down your next-door neighbour's house.

E. Simon - 8/3/2006

Mr. Ebbitt,

What responsibility would you demand in so shrill a tone of an Arab or Palestinian commentator?

What about the monies being spent on Saudi Arabia and all the hate they continue to preach?

What about the indoctrination into hatred in the Palestinian autonomous areas that are used to glorify martyrdom and the removal of another's state?

Hamas was rightly denied funds once the Palestinian leadership's agenda finally became clear enough for no one left with sight to deny.

And why should Egypt, or Jordan require monies just for simply deciding that peace was not the worst thing in the world?

I don't understand the argument that says that that arming Israel leads others to attack it.

I wouldn't necessarily have a problem withdrawing economic aid - that country is probably, on a per capita basis, richer in human capital and technological capability than even the U.S. The problem is that the surrounding countries - due to "alternative" government priorities - are not, resent that fact, and try to starve Israel economically as a result.

But there is no amount of aid to Israel that could keep dozens of other countries from resenting its "wrongful" existence - which I think you know would exist with or without the arms. Why is solving the problem, which surely revolves around their intractable stance, primarily Israel's responsibility - beyond what it can do already to demonstrate its willingness for peace (such as the 2 treaties already in place)? Taking arms away from a country that doesn't use them against countries who don't aggress against it makes no sense; unless you think that an Arab conquest of Israel - and its undoubted installation of a much more repressive, anti-Western regime - would be an acceptable solution.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/3/2006

You don't really care about your tax money because US pays about $150 billions/year for the defense of Europe (100000 soldiers and 280000 civilians on the defense payroll). US also pays for the defense of Japan and South Korea about $20 billion/year each.
Israel receives $2.8 billion/year and 85% of it is used (mandatory) to buy weapons from USA (about 10000 US jobs depend on it).
What you care is about the peanuts US gives to Israel not about the real money spent in other places.
what we can do you are off guard again but what can one expect from a Jew hater?

Michael Dunning - 8/3/2006

Wow, I actually find myself agreeing with Mr. Thomas for a change. May God have mercy on us all. (Just teasing, Mr. Thomas). hehe

Frederick Thomas - 8/3/2006

Mr. Kovachev, permit me to entertain you with the sobriquet "Zionazi," since you seem to be moving toward a distinctly Zionist-Hitleresque rant. That cool by you?

Whether my little prescription, essentially implementing the Oslo accords, which Israel signed, would work is a matter for argument. I believe it could, and that the current course smells strongly of mushroom clouds and a mutual holocaust of Jews and Arabs.

But there is no question that Israel is deliberately and systematically violating the Oslo accords and that the Palestinians are paying the price, because Israel's extremist, murderous electorate will kill any leader of theirs who does or proposes otherwise.

I have no built-in animus against any semite, whether Jew or Arab, but I believe that your doctrinaire hatred of all Arabs constitutes real, deep-seated, profound, corrosive anti-semitism. Arabs are your genetic cousins, Mr. Kovachev, but you hate them and support their slaughter.

I am inviting you again to join a more important community than that of the Zionists-the human community, and work toward actual peace for a change.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/3/2006

Accusing Jews of suffering of a persecution complex is a classic anti-Jewish argument. I didn't say it your own subconscious put it out there. Go to the next Mel Gibson party to refresh your feelings toward the Jews, my non friend.
You have a very old red herring in your hands and I don't believe a regular wash can help the bad smell is overwhelming!

john crocker - 8/3/2006

The comparison is still inapprorriate, inaccurate and diminishes his crimes against humanity. The label Goebbels carries much more baggage with it than "The Big Lie" and none of the people using it here are ignorant of that. Anyone using these terms are either using this emotional power intentionally or out of ignorance.

Indeed the Holocaust is not ancient history. That is one reason casually tossing around accusations of Naziism so distasteful. Why don't you ask a survivor what he/she think of your casual use of this term?

Not everyone that you disagree with and you think is propagandizing is a Nazi or communist. Often in this forum the same person is tarred with both labels. Labelling someone a Nazi or a communist is not an arguement; it is a substitute for critical thought.

E. Simon - 8/2/2006

They should also bring with it heightened sensitivity to what the Palestinian and Iranian leadership intends.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/2/2006

The solution is very simple: turn your hate to the real problems of the world and leave the Jews alone.
You are probably dyslexic otherwise you wouldn't accuse me of propaganda when reading basic numbers from this site. When the numbers show an about 9 to 1 proportion on addresing crisis issues and the number of victims is invers proportional and you can't see bias I have only one explanation HATE!

N. Friedman - 8/2/2006


Thank you for your kind and informative post.

I was, for what it is worth, not trying to reason with Omar but to see what on this Earth, apart from blind prejudice, would make him have concerns about a first rate school like Brandeis. In short, his comment rather shocked me.

Peter Kovachev - 8/2/2006

The references to Goebbels, Mr. Crocker, that I and others made are to his infamous propaganda style of using a blatant big lie repeatedly until it worms itself into the language and worlview of the subjects.

As for your belief that the West wouldn't stand by and watch a destruction of Jews, the Holocaust is not ancient history; it's within living memory of many. If you were to look at Jewish history, you would see the pattern repeating itself. When useful to rulers and populations, Jews would be honoured, invited, and even have castles built for them. When their use ran out, their hosts would discover religion, make up horrid stories about them and then they would be robbed, murdered, and expelled. That's your history of the Jews of Europe and the Middle East in a nutshell. The only thing that has changed now is that after two millenia, Jews have a nation state and the ability to badly hurt those who try to destroy them.

If I were a Jew, I would perhaps rejoice in these very brief tolerant times we live in here, but would always know with certainty borne by history, that when my use comes to an end, I will be lucky to escape with my life.

john crocker - 8/2/2006

No one in their right mind can compare the actions and beliefs of Goebbels and Chomsky, Moore or Buchanon. Constant comparisons of Israeli critics to Goebbels is inappropriate, inaccurate and makes light of his truly horrific crimes.

The terrible events in the other countries you mentioned certainly deserve much more attention and action than they have recieved.

Israel shares a unique relationship with the US and Western Europe that none of those countries do. If they held Israels place, the atrocities that occured there would almost certainly have been averted. Do you honestly believe that if the Israelis were in the position of the Tutsis, the West would stand by and let it happen?

Israels relatinship with the West brings it much more benefit than harm (or it would have ended that relationship long ago). That close relationship brings with it heightened criticism.

john crocker - 8/2/2006

No one in their right mind can compare the actions and beliefs of Goebbels and Chomsky, Moore or Buchanon. Constant comparisons of Israeli critics to Goebbels is inappropriate, inaccurate and makes light of his truly horrific crimes.

The terrible events in the other countries you mentioned certainly deserve much more attention and action than they have recieved.

Israel shares a unique relationship with the US and Western Europe that none of those countries do. If they held Israels place, the atrocities that occured there would almost certainly have been averted. Do you honestly believe that if the Israelis were in the position of the Tutsis, the West would stand by and let it happen?

Israels relatinship with the West brings it much more benefit than harm (or it would have ended that relationship long ago). That close relationship brings with it heightened criticism.

Peter Kovachev - 8/2/2006

Mr. Thomas, first of all, your three-point proposal is easily disposed of with one run-on sentence: None of these ludicrous recommendations, even if adopted by an Israel that has lost its mind or testes, would make one bit of a difference to the jihadis, which want it all...or to you, who will find other imagined Jewish "crimes."

As for the antisemitism accusation, I'll stand by it and look foolish to whoever if need be. I am puzzled, though, as to why you would object to the label; the antisemites I've known...and I have a few among my relatives back in Europe...are fiercely proud of their "philosophy."

I'm sure you know that my accusation is not based on what you call your opposition to "murderous and truly racist policies of Israel." Whatever Left-wing rag did you find that one in ? You and I both know that neither real racism nor non-Israeli violence inthe world bother you much otherwise.

What I'm refering to is your "package of beliefs" about Jews and Israel today and in the past... not just your single post. The arguments you use to malign and demonize Jews and Israel in every post touching on those issues, the tangled mix of out-of-context facts and myths can be traced to extreme Left and Right-wing sources, not to mention Islamofascism. Such a thing doesn't just happen by accident. You may imagine otherwise, but let me assure you; within the context of your otherwise sane conservative opinions on other matters, your obsession with Jews and Israel sticks out like an elephant turd on an elegant buffet table.

I suspect that I needn't tell you any of this, since you are neither a fool or a dullard. I do note with some amusement, though, that you didn't actually deny and reject the antisemite label, just informed me that throwing it at you might make me look foolish and urged me to join you and your fellow-travellers in the destruction of the Jewish state.

E. Simon - 8/2/2006

Appealing to an audience of "angels," are we? And yet those employing rational, secular arguments here are the fanatics? Interesting.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/2/2006

Using the "search HNN:" on the homepage one can find some interesting results. In my understanding the search includes everything on, articles and blog comments and uses google database.

1) search on "israel" returns about 54100 entries
2) search on "israeli" returns about 30200 entries
3) search on "palestine" returns about 13300 entries
4) search on "palestinian" returns about 24100 entries
5) search on "israelis" returns about 12700 entries
search on "palestinians returns about 16600 entries
One can imagine other type of searces but for me it's enough, I only want to give you a statistical argument about what beung a Jew hater means.
Now I'll add anumber of other searches about other places where real genocides happen or happened.
1) search on "ruanda" returns about 15 entries
2) search on "tutsi" returns about 143 entries
3) search on "tutsis" returns about 234 entries
4) search on "darfur" returns about 949 entries
5) search on "kasmisr" returns about 787 entries
6) search on "chechnya" returns about 1060 entries

In Ruanda about 800000 tutsis were killed
In Darfur the Arabs killed hundred of thousands of non Muslims and in Sudan in general millions were killed by the government in the last 10-15 years
In the middle east the real killers of Palestinians are the Arabs. The Jordanians killed about 25000 Palestinians in september 1971, Iraqis and Syrians killed also thousands of Palestinians and the list can go on, but you can do your own research.

Judging by the numbers above we can understand why Michael Goebbels Levine writes about Israel, simple there are enough obsessed anti-Jewish creatucers to read his articles and buy his propaganda, bottom line he is an american and likes to make money.
The same can be said about Noam Goebbels Chomsky, he is a famous and very successful linguist, but who reads linguistics, people like politics and when Israelis are blamed the sales go up.
About people like Pat Goebbels Buchannan or Robert Goebbels Novak the reason it's more visceral they represent a long American anti-Jewish tradition which was very powerful in 1940s and 1950s but still has its supporters today.
Even Michael Goebbels Moore rants against Israel in his books, puting Israel and North Korea on the same page.
All the media jumped on the Qana event which was staged by hezbolla propaganda machine, but everything is worth when the Jews can be blamed.
I believe I've said enough. I know it sounds angry but I don't expect any understanding from 99% of you I only copied some numbers and you can judge for yourself!

Lisa Kazmier - 8/2/2006

BTW, do you have any credentials or are you just a full time lunatic?

Lisa Kazmier - 8/2/2006

I suppose you think Zbigniew Brzezinki is anti-semetic too, huh?

This is the point. You can't impose a solution. Hitler sure didn't. Come up with something else.

Frederick Thomas - 8/2/2006

...for some really cogent posts which may have put a crack or two in the wall of BS which the Israel supporters limply use to justify atrocity after atrocity.

Somewhere the angels are clapping.

Frederick Thomas - 8/2/2006

Mr. Kovachev, you are better that that. There are actual arguments against what I have said. You ignored those, and instead called me an "anti-semite" for opposing the murderous and truly racist policies of Israel.

Asserting something as ineffectual as that makes you look pretty foolish. Instead I suggest that you drop the entire hackneyed line, and get down to business.

You are a man of intellect and persuasiveness, and such as you are needed to prevent Israel from condemning itself to eventual destruction.

Three things are necessary to make Israel a non-target for most of its neighbors, who stand to become progressively better armed as time goes by:

1. An apology which admits every crime against humanity committed against the Palestinians and anyone else. Much depends upon this.

2. Agreement to get out-completely out-of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, a la Oslo. Olmert's concept of a West Bank bantustan with armed Israelis controlling 60% of the ground and 90% of the arable land is not serious. It is a formula for war.

3. A massive economic effort to put the Palestinians back on their feet, paid for by Israel, not by the US, combined with an effort to purge Israel of its huge hate group racist component, and thus prevent another Rabin assassination, or the like.

If these things are done, then Israel has a chance. If not, it will not exist in a generation or two. People such as yourself can make the difference, but not by yelling "anti-semite" everytime Israel is challenged.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/1/2006

The only thing I want from you is a little bit of proof that you spend at least the same amount of energy on non Jewish related crises. Of course Israel can be criticized but one who criticizes only Israel is a Jew hater or if you want anti-jewish but I strongly believe that one who has moral questions only when Jews act on self defense does it out of hate.
So again, did you try to discuss conflict resolution in other than a Jewish context?

William Redfern - 8/1/2006

A correction. LeVine does not have it (coyly or otherwise) that the FPIP is an independent human rights organization. I apologize. Every other claim I stand by.

LeVine does cite Zunes' article available at the FPIP site. That article has a curious bit there. Zunes reports that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, "declared that Israel's indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians." (you can access it through the FPIP link in LeVine's text).

Unfortunately, she did nothing of the sort. She mentioned neither Israel nor Hezbollah in that particular news release, with that particular wording. Were she making a specific point, rather than a general one, that declaration would be more accurately aimed at Hezbollah, and their use of rockets.

Arbour did follow up her general comment about shelling, with one about engaging targets of "alleged military significance" being unjustifiable if resulting invariably in the killing of innocent civilians. If that were tied to a specific case, that would most likely be aimed at Israel. But she never named names, as Zunes suggests.(the press release and the words quoted and their context is available through the UNHCHR site)

As I have argued, Arbour has misstated the principle of proportionality. There is no, as she puts it, "supreme obligation" to protect innocent civilians during military operations. That is bunk. Were it true, one would be powerless to engage a column of tanks with human shields strapped to their sides, even as that column closed on a hospital.

Needless to say, Zunes' use of a grafted and truncated quote to say something that was never said, is not a practice that has a place in academis, or in serious scholarship of any kind.

Peter Kovachev - 8/1/2006

Of course you agree with LeVine, Mr. Thomas, and even with him being on the opposite pole of your general political views, it's actually not remarkable at all. With all your respective talents, you and he share the same passion: a raging and virulent antisemitism. The only difference is in how you'd like to see Israel destroyed in a second Holocaust; LeVine through a flood of terrorism, you with nukes.

Frederick Thomas - 8/1/2006

...and I agree with Prof. LeVine, which is the more remarkable.

If you do not believe it, then perhaps I do not either, but the boy's got game this time, and I have to say thanks for a superb incisive commentary, which Israeli policy-makers would listen to, if they were but wise. They are not, of course.

The basic issue of fundamental Israeli racism, with Israeli cabinet ministers referring to non-Jews as "cancer," "nits," and not understanding why anyone could be upset about hundreds of dead Palestinian kids is the reason why there may not be a peace short of the atomic destruction of Israel.

The debt of atrocities committed by Israelis is so great that I do not believe that forgiveness is possible, short of extraordinary measures.

It seems that another Isiah is needed to make these hardheaded jerks listen. But I suppose that even Isiah would be considered suspect and shot out of hand by the middle east's worst terrorists, the Isrealis.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


There was permission from the host country.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


You seem to think that there is something suspect about Brandeis University. I do not. I bet you are the only person on this website who sees anything untoward about the school.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


Thank you for repeating Islamist propaganda. Your history, however, is innacurate.

My suggestion: read a book by someone who disagrees with your version of events. Try, for example, Benny Morris who is, by and large, sympathetic to what happened to Palestinian Arabs. In his version of event, there is some recognition of the obvious - which you entirely overlook with your Medieval notions -, namely, that the Arab war against Jews in Israel, not anything inevitable or anything related to Zionism or anything of the sort, was the causal event that led to the dispute.

Again: there were compromises on the table - all rejected by the Arab side -. All involved had a perfect right - a moral right - to live in the region, not just Arabs. The right to migrate is a basic human right, which Jews have, not just Arabs. The right of migrants to have political interests is also a basic human right, not just a right for Arabs. And, frankly, a less Medieval view of the world by the Arab side could have led to all involved, as the early Zionists envisioned and even some Arabs envisioned, living together and potentially building a good society together.

Instead, Arabs refuse to get over what all other peoples on Earth get over, namely, losing wars that result in people being displaced. The Germans got over it, the Pakistanis got over it, the Turks got over it, the Greeks got over it, the Indians got over it, etc., etc. Palestinian Arabs and their friends, by contrast, refuse to move on from their mistakes, as if only Palestinian Arabs have been displaced.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Explain it. I do not see what you are talking about.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


What on Earth are you saying? Well, perhaps Israel will perish. Then again, maybe it won't. Perhaps, Omar, the attitude of the Arabs toward Israel has also been an historic mistake, a reason why the Arab regions are in such decline. Or, perhaps the Arab regions attitude toward Israel is a symptom of the decline of the Arab region, which are unable to stomach non-Arab rule. Or, perhaps the Arabs have fallen sway to corrupt governments which try to avoid responsibility for ineptness by placing blame on Israel. Or, perhaps, it was the failure of the Arab side to accept UN 181.

None of the blame game much matters. Israel is not going anywhere. And, if it does, it will take out all of the Arabs with it. In which case, the Arab side will have killed itself to spite its face.

People in their right minds, Omar, look to resolve disputes, not to make Medieval claims that the land must be Arab and that any other ruler is a racist - as if there were anything close to a non-racist Arab country.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


I do not see the connection.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

Very well said.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


Would there be something wrong with someone seeking a chair at Brandeis?

William Redfern - 8/1/2006

It's hard to know where to begin with this piece. Let's try the first sentence. Michael Walzer has ZERO association with Princeton University. It's a simple, and widely-known fact, easily available through a moment's search on the internet. Yet, somehow, it escapes Prof. LeVine.

Secondly, there has been no wholesale destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure. Nor is the destruction of infrastructure a war crime, per se.

Nor is a mathematically disproportionate civilian toll dispositive on the issue of in bello proportionality. One of the purposes of the law of armed conflict is to minimize harm to civilians, and damage to civilian infrastructure. It has never been a purpose of that law to encourage a race to the bottom by conferring a military advantage on the side that most enthusiastically employs human shields.

The view that Hezbollah doesn't use human shields is refuted by the comments of Jan Egeland, the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. His comments (and he has also been critical of Israel) stand in contrast to the comments of the FPIP, which LeVine coyly describes as an indepedent human rights organization. It is in fact managed by the Institute for Policy Studies, and by the FPIP's own admission, is dedicated solely to the criticism of the US.

Prof. LeVine follows a certain course previously set here at HNN. He says the Israeli attacks were in response to the kidnapping of two soldiers. Actually, eight Israeli soldiers were murdered (a fact he conveniently omits). And the kidnappings were carried out to free a Lebanese terrorist who killed a four-year girl by crushing her skull against a rock with his rifle butt.

That brings us to the claim that Israel refused to release those it had agreed to. Israel says it excluded the murderer, Kuntar (whom LeVine coyly describes as a "prisoner"), from the beginning, while Nasrallah said he had to be the first released. The swap went ahead anyways, signifying agreement to the fact that Kuntar wouldn't be released. Nasrallah then declared he would just kidnap more soldiers until he got his murderer back (though, not in those words, of course).

As to the reliability of Adam Shatz's piece in the Nation (which LeVine endorses), you need only go two sentences in to start finding fault. he has it that Kuntar killed a family of three (the Haran family). Actually, the family was made up of four members, only two of whom Kuntar murdered (not just killed, as Shatz would minimize it). But then Shatz has no real expertise in the facts of the Middle East. He is a literary editor. But give credit where due. He made it itnto his second sentence before offering a howler, which is twice as far as LeVine got.

Though the taking of hostages under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention specifically applies to intra-state conflicts, it is widely viewed as a violation of humanitarian law.

It's not that everything LeVine says is false. It's just that his piece betrays so many errors of fact that one wonders just what passes for standards in academia today.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/1/2006

Dear Patrick,
A Jew hater is one that doesn't really care about moral principles unless Jewish self defense is involved. A Jew hater doesn't care when Russians level cities, towns and villages in Chechnia, when Arabs kill tens of thousands in Darfur, when Joradnians kill 20000 Palestinians, when 800000 people are killed in Ruanda, when Turkey takes 40% of Cyprus (with 20% of the population) and cleanses the Turkish part and builds a fence and etc., etc., etc.! About half of the non binding UN general assembly resolutions are against Israel but none against any of the real evils in our world!
If your inner "moral" fabric wakes up only when Jews act in self defense you are a Jew hater.
By the way, did you at any time in your blogging career write an "eight point" about the Kashmir situation (there is a lot of fighting and terrorism around it), about the Cyprus situation or any other situation besides Jewish self defense?

Cary Fraser - 8/1/2006

It may be useful to remember that the former Secretary of State, George Shultz, wrote of the American efforts to rein in Israel in 1982 in his memoir, Turmoil and Triumph (Scribner, 1993). Shultz indicated that after speaking to the US envoy, Philip Habib: "I was enraged. the reputation and word of the United States were being compromised. The Lebanese and PLO now believed that Habib's negotiations were a sham, an effort to hold the PLO's neck while Israel swung the ax. I went over to the White House and gave President Reagan my report. My agitation showed. He, too, was visibly angry. He said another Holocaust was taking place. I urged him to telephone Begin. The president did, but Begin was in the midst of a cabinet meeting and did not take the call." (p.70) Shultz indicated that Reagan later spoke to Begin and the US delivered a blunt warning to Israel: "I cannot stress enough to you how seriously I regard this situation. Ambassador Habib must be enabled to fulfill those last steps in his mission. The cease-fire must be kept. Our entire future relations are at stake if this continues."

It is quite remarkable that Reagan displayed a more profound appreciation of history in 1982 than did Walzer in his 2006 essay.

Yehudi Amitz - 8/1/2006

Israel is the only democratic state in the area, where freedom of speech is the rule. Jews are normal people and as in any normal groop there are all kinds even fools (like your student). Chomsky is a Jew too and as I said before a very fine intellectual, like Goebbels.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


You did not read my comment. I said I agree with the Israelis in principle. I said that it is bad that people are dying.

Peter Kovachev - 8/1/2006

What would be hilarious, Ms. Kazmier, is if you did sue Mr. Amiz for slander. Then we can all have a chuckle at the farce ... us simplistic wingnuts stick together.

As you are evidently a modest person, perhaps I can kindly inform Mr. Amitz of just who he is talking to: an assistant professor in a State univerity. One who doesn't know how to spell "antisemitism/anti-semitism/Anti-Semitism" and routinely calls anyone who she can't debate "simplistic." But then, you had a student who was a "huge critic of Israel" (such fine literary fruits a good liberal education bears) and hark all ye sinners, "she happened to be not only Jewish but a citizen of Israel"! Wow.

Peter Kovachev - 8/1/2006

Ms. Kazmier,

The points Mr Amitz makes are pretty clear and fair. It takes a Goebbelian mind, in this case one housed in the body of a trendy academic, to try and sell us on the "justice" of Hezbollah attacking Israel for daring to respond to kidnappings, killings and the rain of Islamist Qassams on Israeli towns. Or to, get this, disapprove of Israel's violation of Hezbollah's "rules" on abductions and prisoner releases. Mr. LeVine's essay is propaganda, not political thought; malice, not ethics. Jeesh, even the Arab press came out with a more critical assessments of the current crisis. LeVine's isn't mere "criticism of Israel." It's smelly old antisemitism again pretending to be scientific, and again aiming for the same goals; to demonize, weaken and ultimately destroy the Jews.

Mr. Amitz seems to have gotten you in a tizzy over his mention of Goebbels. In reading LeVine's article, all crammed with one big whopper after another, old Joe Goebbels popped-up in my mind too. So did Raymond de Penaforte, who was smarter than Goebbels and LeVine together, but that's another matter. But perhaps Mr. Amitz was a bit quick in his comparison between today's Islamist enemies of Israel and the old Nazis. After all, Ahmenedijan has a beard, not a silly little moustache; Hezbolla's sieg-heil salute is a sloppy imitation of the real thing; SS-men dreamed of hefty Valkyries, wheareas the Islamists hope to earn 72 pre-pubescent girls; and Iran is building nukes for their version of the endloesung, not gas chambers. The other point Mr. Amitz made is that Israel is routinely treated with unparalleled bias. Well, not exactly earth-ripping news to anyone with tv ... or a pulse ... and so I will interpret your disinterest in challenging the facts of that argument as reluctant agreement.

Lastly, I find your piling into Mr. Amitz about eternal victimhood and viscerally nauseating. Perhaps hearing those such words frequently back in Vienna ... spoken in that lovely Vienese German ... has unfairly prejudiced me. No matter, neither you, with your advanced ethics and jurisprudence (to wit: "Killing is killing. That's it. I think even God works that way..."); nor the Lebanese and their oily "now-we're-sovereign-now-we're not" line; nor global jihad's proxy chumps, our adorable "Palestinians," are required to understand the meaning of the Holocaust has for the Jews. One should never expect the impossible. It's more practical, instead, to understand that thanks to the existence of a few humane nations and a reborn Jewish state, slandering, threatening, kindnapping or killing Jews is no longer safe or universally admired. The times have a'changed, indeed.

PS: The proper terms for "gypsies" are Roma for the people and Rom for the individual. Not that you're required to understand the importance of these terms to that unfortunate people either. Otherwise, you should be commended on remembering the Roma .... even if only to taunt a Jewish poster.

Lisa Kazmier - 8/1/2006

That's hilarious. If I had the time, I'd sue you for slander. You have no idea who you're talking to and I'm sure it matters nothing to you, since your simplistic worldview can't get beyond equating any criticism of Israel with being anti-semetic. I had a student a few summer ago who was a huge critic of the Israeli government -- and she happened to be not only Jewish but a citizen of Israel. You remind of the simpletons who think anyone who criticizes the president hates America. I guess you wingnuts all stick together.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006


The 1982 war is long over. The Israelis were out of Lebanon in 2000.

You might as well include the background of the Lebanonese civil war which killed more than 150,000 people.

Maybe we should go back to the French intervention that helped recreate Lebanon.

Or, perhaps, we might look back at the massacres in the 1800's.

Or, we might say that Hezbollah had its reasons for attacking. And most likely, their reasons were to advance Hezbollah's agenda.

Cary Fraser - 8/1/2006

Walzer apparently forgot to consider the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanaon and its aftermath as important factors in the current conflict. What is ethical about an argument for war that evades important roots of the conflict?

An apologist has little basis to claim the ethical and/or intellectual high ground.

N. Friedman - 8/1/2006

In court

E. Simon - 7/31/2006

Killing is killing but the Western cannon of law generally recognizes and allows for the discerning of degrees of intent. I think this is a good thing and wouldn't want Jeffrey Dahmer treated the same in the eyes of the law as would be a bad, unlucky automobile driver. Perhaps some disagree, perhaps they don't; but if the case is the latter I don't see any reason why they can't understand that - given a state of conflict, there is certainly a difference between collateral damage and intentional targetting of noncombatants. That more people don't see the stark difference in this between how Israel tends to operate vs. the procedural (and related propoganda) aims of its enemies is perplexing. It may not have much if anything to do with the Holocaust (whose role in this discussion should probably be more oblique than its treatment here) but intentions matter in so many areas of life, including grave historical lessons - and to discard their consideration here is no less innappropriate and wrong.

E. Simon - 7/31/2006

Not to scuttle the approach too gravely, but isn't credibility merely the opposite of an ad hominem? When do appeals to authority not count as fallacies?

E. Simon - 7/31/2006

Good to hear your voice here again, which - being as reasoned as it is creative - makes a welcome addition to so many otherwise inane discussions.

N. Friedman - 7/31/2006


I sort of agree with you. Thank you. Logically, you are certainly correct that only the argument, not the maker of the argument, counts.

On the other hand, were I making an argument to a jury or judge - where credibility is important -, I would point out that the speaker is famous and brilliant and renown and credible and knowledgeable, etc., about what he writes, etc. While ad hominem arguments are not valid, credibility is important. I might also note that Levine actually raises the issue of Walzer's credibility by noting that he is renown - which is, in fact, the case -.

Yehudi Amitz - 7/31/2006

You are a Jew hater so why bother?! The only thing you care is about Jews defending themselves, so lets leave it here because you only prove my point with your twisted and hateful "logic"

Lisa Kazmier - 7/31/2006

Your leap in logic is pretty ridiculous. And you have no idea who you're talking to or what my syllabi are like.

Why don't I create an analogy of your "argument." Let's say some remote descendants of holocaust survivors broke into your home. Are they supposed to be let go or get off because they can claim lineage to the holocaust?

Maybe in the case of me happening to make 'em gypsies? (They were victims of the holocaust too, you know.) You don't get to claim victimhood forever to excuse excessive or bad behavior. Period. Same goes for the Arabs or anyone else. You want some kind of universal "get out of jail" card here, right? Otherwise, I'm anti-sementic, huh? Well, sorry. I don't buy it. Killing is killing. That's it. I think even God works that way and I hope everybody involved finds that out one day.

Yehudi Amitz - 7/31/2006

Isn't ridiculous at all, for the Jews the holocaust is the only argument and the Jews should be very alert because the next Jewsish holocaust may be around the corner. No one protested when 8 Israeli railroad workers were killed by a rocket from Lebanon. There is almost np protest for the killing of innocent jews in Seatle, WA by an Arab American. You express your support for the proxies of a regime that called for the removal of Israel from the map and denies the holocaust. The unfortunate results of wars is the death of civilians and you don't seemj to care about the fact that the lebanese militia uses civilians as humans shields. Actually in Qana the Arab rescuers waited for the reporters before they begun to work and who knows for how many hours?
So in conclusion say it loud and clear, I HATE JEWS AN NOT REALLY CARE FOR THE ARABS!

N. Friedman - 7/31/2006


My problem is Professor Levine's argument. Saying that the Israelis are not angels and that Walzer is using a racist argument is, to me, does not tell me why anything is wrong with Walzer's argument.

I am perfectly willing to accept that there could be more than one point of view and that there could be a valid argument that disagrees with that of Professor Walzer. The problem is that Levine does not make one. It is moral posturing without serious analysis.

If Mr. Levine wants instead to argue, for example, that to advance a moral position, a party must come to the table with clean hands, I think I could at least understand the argument. In response to such an argument - which is not Levine's argument -, even the immoral have a right to defend themselves when attacked and to eliminate a threat posed in such a circumstance. So, I do not see that such an argument is too serious an argument either, but at least I can understand it.

William R. Everdell - 7/31/2006

Walzer's book on the Puritan revolutionaries was very good, but Walzer was in a position to judge the Puritans independently, not being either a Puritan or a Tory or even an anglophile.

Anglophiles in the U.S. around 1914 had a particularly hard time understanding why the English naval blockade of Germany was no better than the German naval (submarine) blockade of Britain. And those anglophiles controlled American foreign policy. Similarly, Israelophiles leading U.S. foreign policy find it extremely difficult to see any moral principle which would equally condemn Israel and Hezbollah. The phrase "moral clarity" is often invoked by those who insist on Israel's unquestionable moral preeminence.

Well, I don't buy it. Even from Walzer. As Mark A. LeVine makes clear in his rather brave dissent, Moral clarity requires ethical universalism. Let's praise England for not invading Belgium, and Israel can have the distinction of being a functioning democracy where dissent is legal--like Lebanon was before they invaded it and may yet continue to be.


Lisa Kazmier - 7/31/2006

How ridiculous it is to march out the Goebbels/Nazi argument when someone dares criticie Israel's actions, as if the Holocaust were some blanket permission slip for any and all actions undertaken for any reason. It's simplistic. It gets nowhere. I don't feel guilt for the Holocaust and the Lebanese shouldn't have guilt for it either. Israel is not attacking the Nazis but the way this is presented flies in the face of some obvious facts. Don't you have a better argument than to wave the Holocaust and anti-semetism as the reasons behind asserting Israel is wrong to kill civilians?

Yehudi Amitz - 7/31/2006

If I understand well your answer you express your surprise about my statement, as if you don't believe what I wrote (if I am mistaken, sorry). I'll give you only one example. In 1940 the US congress rejected a law allowing the entrance of about 30000 european Jewish children into the USA. A few months later the same congress approved the entrance of about 40000 british children into the USA. The Jewish children died in the holocaust. I can give you a very long list but I think you can find it yourself if you really want to know the truth (HNN itself may be a place to start)

Michael Dunning - 7/31/2006

There are still many Americans, like Pat Buchanan or Robert Novak, who still want to follow the American (and British) collaboration with the Germans, during WWII, in the extermination of the Jews.

Yehudi Amitz - 7/31/2006

The author of this article is a fine intellectual teaming with Noam Chomsky and other fine intellectuals, ideologically blinded by hate, the same as Goebbels (or Mengele) who was a fine intellectual with an ideological agenda. There are still many Americans, like Pat Buchanan or Robert Novak, who still want to follow the American (and British) collaboration with the Germans, during WWII, in the extermination of the Jews.
The article simply states that the only "moral" thing for the Jews is to go quietly and in order into the ovens , anything else is imoral for the Jews.
For all these sudden "humanists" it was OK when the Russians leveled Grozny (the capital of Chechnia) or when Arabs kill hundred of thousands in Darfur, but when Jews defend themselves it's highly immoral.
Go figure, Goebbels crowd?!

N. Friedman - 7/31/2006


Because Walzer is world-renowned, as is explained in the article. And, because he has a first rate mind. And, because he makes a very good argument.

N. Friedman - 7/31/2006


You write: "Tu quoque is only a fallacy when one uses it so as to divert attention from the issue."

That is incorrect. Tu quoque is an invalid form of argument, a fallacy. IN any event, his argument does not address Professor Walzer's argument while pretending to do so.

In answer to your question, I agree, in principle, with Professor Walzer. I am, however, troubled by so many people dying.

Cary Fraser - 7/31/2006

Is there a reason for taking Walzer's views seriously?

John Chapman - 7/31/2006

“Is Israel doing the right thing?” You posed this question and yet you didn’t make your stand for or against it which is what is important here despite you pointing out fallacies in logic. Everyone knows full well what the issue is here. As for tu quoque , this is always debatable and is better discussed in a philosophy class. Tu quoque is only a fallacy when one uses it so as to divert attention from the issue. This doesn’t seem the case here. Levine is speaking directly to the issue by first pointing out the petitio principii problem with the question that was brought up by Walzer who raised the question in the first place.

N. Friedman - 7/27/2006


Your argument employs invalid arguments, logically speaking.

For example, you charge Professor Walzer of making a bigotted argument. You also indicate that there are bigotted Israelis. Such points are irrelevant, from the point of view of rebutting Professor Walzer's argument. In logic theory, when you make such an argument, you commit the logic fallacy called tu quoque.

One of Professor's Walzer's messages, as I understand it, is that the religious motives driving groups like Hezbollah are important for understanding Israel's behavior under just war theory. His argument is either valid or not. And it is valid or not whether or not the argument is bigotted, racist or whatever adjective you intend to use to describe his argument. And it is valid whether or not the Israelis are all bigotted and have long term aims, etc., etc. In simple terms, your argument is beside the point.

You also write: To begin with, Walzer utterly fails to understand that his descriptions of Hezbollah and Hamas– an “enemy whose hostility is extreme, explicit, unrestrained, and driven by an ideology of religious hatred,” or later as a movement that “does not recognize the legal and moral principle of noncombatant immunity” could, sadly, be used to describe the views of the Israeli government and the IDF towards Palestinians, and now Lebanese.

Again, your argument employs the same logic fallacy, namely, tu quoque. The only issue that can defeat the Professor's argument is an argument that addresses what he says, not an argument which attacks his morality or that of the party he is defending. So, the issue is the validity of Professor Walzer's argument, not whether the Lebanese or Palestinian Arabs could make an argument about Israel's hostility.

My suggestion to you is that there is a reason why Professor Walzer is, as you say, world-renown. It is because he presents valid arguments which are not subject to easy refutation.

As for the position you ultimately adopt, I would ask you to read, if you have not already done so, Barbara Tuchman's book A Distant Mirror. The problem of princes who pledge allegiance to non-local governments (e.g. the de Couchy), the problem of roaming armies demanding tribute and influence in governance, etc., etc., were disasters for the 14th Century. In today's Lebanon, Hezbollah Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah play somewhat the role played by the 14th Century princes and by the various 14th Century roaming armies. Such is a disaster not only for Lebanon - which, according to many reports, Hezbollah seeks to dominate or, at the very least, influence - but for the Israelis, the Arabs, the Muslims and the world.

Is Israel doing the right thing? If your argument is the best one can say againts it, that suggests Israel may, at least morally - which is not to say tactically or pragmatically -, be doing the correct thing.

I am rather surprised, lastly, that you accept Professor Walzer's grouping of Hezbollah and HAMAS. Is that connection real? I gather you agree with Professor Walzer that it is. Such, at least to me, undermines your argument. After all, we have HAMAS' covenant which pretty starkly calls for Israel's destruction. And that document does not even look toward a Palestinian Arab state - but, instead, a waqf -, much less a state alongside Israel. Or, do you think we should just ignore covenants issued by political parties?