Friendly Occupation

Preliminary reports indicate that Israeli forces have been moving forward and occupying land that they did not occupy prior to the ceasefire. It is also reported that IDF forces raised the Israeli flag on a hill inside Lebanon, near the village of Marwahine. These forces were not present in the area during the mass funeral of the victims of the Marwahine massacre… HezbAllah has been holding its fire. The UN is still worried that the crossing of 100 sheep into Israel poses a grave danger to an otherwise “[generally] maintained” ceasefire…


145 responses to “Friendly Occupation

  1. Been away for a while…

    I’ve just came back from about 3 weeks of army service in the IDF including about 10 days of active war in the Israeli artillery forces.

    There were nights it seems like a movie. I heard HA rockets whistling above my head hitting Israeli towns. I saw the forests of northern Israel burning, coloring the night sky with orange. I saw the MLRS firing back leaving a trail of smoke across the sky. I heard the machine guns, the tanks, the planes, the choppers, the cannons. I heard some kind of an explosion every 10 seconds. I saw HA rockets hitting 300 feet from me. We fired back. We destroyed one HA rocket launcher. We killed 3 HA fighters. We nailed one HA anti-tank unit. The war ended. I went home back to my family. I saw my wife and kids again. I survived this round.

    I met with many soldiers from different units in the front and talked to a lot of my friends that came back from the war. Everywhere I asked, Israeli combat soldiers describe the same thing – in many cases they were held back in order not to harm Lebanese civilians. Examples: A combat pilot friend of mine estimates 80-90 percent of his targets were empty fields. My artillery unit from time to time fired more than 100 shells to the same target (one spot on some empty field). A soldier I met on the front from another artillery unit said they saw HA fighters in a village bellow them but didn’t get a clearance to fire at them. 2 friends of mine (one from an anti-tanks unit, and one from an infantry unit) say the same thing. Everywhere you ask it’s the same story. It seems like the IDF was held back by the politicians in order to avoid Lebanese civilian casualties, many times increasing the risk to its own soldiers. I think that if the IDF was given a free hand, HA would have been reduced to Nasrallah and maybe another 10 people that are hiding in his bunker.

    Glad to be home again.
    Peace to all.

  2. It seems like the IDF was held back by the politicians in order to avoid Lebanese civilian casualties
    Ahh, yes, it “seems like it”… Aren’t the 1200 CIVILIAN dead a proof of it? The total elimination of towns, like Srifa, like Aita al Cha’ab, like Taibe, the leveling of more than 400 residential buildings in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the bombing of civilian convoys (Marwahine, Marja’ayoun, to name just 2), the targeting of ambulances, TV crews and reporters (same old story in Gaza today, eh? Guess Reuters was “aiding the terrorsts”, ha? or was it all in the name of avoiding civilian casualties?)… Oh yes, it seems like it… Ah yes, the most moral army in the world.. that killed 1200 civilians and withdrew, claiming victory.

    You might want to realize that this is not an IDF mouthpiece, so you might be better off posting your bullshit on fascist blogs that are very much abundant on your side of the border.

  3. To Anarchorev,

    All HA targets using civilian facilities, bomb missing its target or bad intelligence.

  4. There were a couple of interesting reports on the Marwaheen funerals – it was being reported by the AP, someone from the NYT and a few others that the Sunni’s of Marwaheen were no to happy with Hizbullah for firing from occupied civilian areas – and that the UN refused to take them in before the convoy was hit.

    There is still no excuse for firing on these convoys, but if any of the NYT quotes from Marwaheen residents are true, then Hezbullah was an unwanted presence in Marwaheen and had used civilian housing as an arms depot.

  5. All HA targets using civilian facilities, bomb missing its target or bad intelligence.
    That still doesn’t prove – not one bit – that there was no deliberate attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Or did HezbAllah also use the bridge in Akkar in the north to fire rockets? Or the one leading to the Casino du Liban? I suppose HezbAllah fighters were also firing Katyushas from atop the civilian cars that were fleeing Marwahine, heeding Israel’s warnings?

  6. Hizbullah for firing from occupied civilian areas
    And where exactly is the proof that HezbAllah was firing these rockets from civilian areas? The villagers of Marwahine are, by the way, on the Hariri payroll (see for example the t-shirts worn at the mass-funeral). But that does not, of course, mean that their suffering is not legitimate. In fact, it is proof that the Israeli killing machine does not distinguish between religion/sect, and kills all Lebanese. At any rate, the photos of Katyushas being fired showed clearly that they were fired from open spaces, at least 1 km away from civilian areas. I am yet to see one photo of Katyushas being fired from civilian areas.

  7. It is well known that Iran sent more rockets to HA during the war.
    Destroying the bridges is one way to stop them from reaching HA.
    Bridges? A legitimate military target.

  8. By the way, whatever you meant by “occupied” areas? Do you mean to say that HezbAllah, an indigenous group, is an OCCUPYING force? I am yet to see you use such language with the REAL occupiers, the ISRAELIS. But I see, you are tired, tired of it all, tired, that is, when there is criticism of Israel, after all, it is useless, it is a never-ending loop, killing, killing back.. guess killing should be restricted only to one side, eh?

  9. It is well known that Iran sent more rockets to HA during the war.
    Well known is not good enough, I am afraid. Well known to whom? According to whom? Based on what? Presumptions that Iran would send weapons. That does not qualify as proof.

    Bridges? A legitimate military target.
    Ah, so bridges are a legitimate military target, but not [Israeli] highways that are used to transport tanks. Not the reserve base at Kfar Giladi… not the Israeli soldiers who were killed, and captured. Now targeting bridges is perfectly legitimate, but not the targeting of soldiers – Israeli ones that is…

  10. Of course the use of cluster bombs was really humane. It’s the bombs that keep giving, thank you noble IDF soldier. Estimates are 18 months to 2 years to clear out all the bomblets. In the meantime who will harvest the crops and till the land for next year? Who will feed the farmers and their families? Will the settlers volunteer as good neighbors to come and do the work? Now that would be noble act.

    Are we supposed to be worried about your war trauma now? I did notice the US press carried lots of pics of IDF soldiers crying, with captions about their pain.

    The Americans also blamed their Iraq debacle on bad intelligence–I seem to see a pattern here. “Sorry, we killed you it was a mistake, but we are not terrorists. We are noble and virtues”. The American and Israeli justification for killing–somehow does not cut it.

  11. Quoting the AFP:

    Israeli troops still occupy nine positions in southern Lebanon two weeks after a ceasefire between Israel and the Shiite militia Hezbollah ended more than a month of heavy fighting.

    Israeli troops also continue carrying out nightly incursions in border villages, “taking advantage of respect for the ceasefire from the Lebanese side,” the Lebanese military official, who did not want to be named, told AFP Sunday.

    (Link via Angry Arab)

  12. Sometimes I wonder if the IDF has ever actually witnessed a Katyusha being fired, because they don’t seem to realise that there is quite a bit of clear space needed around (especially in front of) BM-21s to fire the rockets.

    It is impossible to launch such things from … let’s say, inside a building or on the corner of a city street when buildings are surrounding the area.

  13. I certainly don’t have proof, seeing as I’m thousands of miles from
    Marhaween and the folks I know are from the north. I am simply going by the following quotes. If you have spoken to these folks and find them not credible, please let me know.

    a NYT article by Hassam M. Fattah

    (start quote) “We kept beseeching them, ‘Stay out! Stay out!’ ” said Zainab Ali Abdullah, 19, who lost her father, brother and several other members of the family in the attack. “They said, ‘We’re all in the same boat together, so deal with it.’ But why should our children die for their cause?”


    The town’s troubles began sometime last year when a local resident who had converted to Shiism was appointed the local representative of Hezbollah, residents said. Soon strange things began to occur: strangers came through for late-night meetings; trucks would come and go in the middle of the night; and a suspicious-looking white van was parked at each end of the village.

    When the war broke out, rockets flew out of the village and a hilltop nearby, and the fears of many residents that trouble would come grew stronger.

    On Thursday, one of the suspicious white vans was sitting next to the town mosque. The van had apparently been hit by an Israeli missile, but the launching platform for a Katyusha rocket could still be seen inside. A rocket that lay next to the van a few days earlier had been removed.


    Elsewhere, villagers showed off a weapons dump that included heavy machine guns, mortar rockets and launchers, and numerous other rockets left behind. Part of the weapons store had been bombed, but a much larger store down the street was intact.

    Residents said Hezbollah was using them as human shields. “One man in this village was able to turn all our lives upside down for just a bit of money,” Ibrahim said. When the villagers left, he said, the fighters did too, as evidenced by the limited damage done to the town.

    “We want the army and the United Nations to come in here and protect us,” he said. “Israel is our enemy, but the problem is that Hezbollah gave them an excuse to come in and kill our children.”(end quote)

    Todd Pitman of AP wrote a similar story

    Now, I no I will need to repeat this again – non of this justifies what Isreal did. It’s attacks were murderous, disproportionate and – as we see with talks of a prisoner exchange – had none of their stated effects

    I truly don’t understand what Olmert or the Isreali government was thinking and the only reason I hope Olmert doesn’t fall tomorrow is Benny will not be any better – at least with Olmert there is some chance, in the distance future, that withdrawl from the West Bank will come back on the table, (but not soon, sadly.)

    Still, it appears that in some places at least, the claims of Hezbullah
    firing from occupied civilian areas may have some truth to them.

  14. The New York Times? You mean the same newspaper that keeps pointing to the “plight” of the Israeli SOLDIERS? Ah yes. I see. You are a believer. You believe IN a newspaper with an agenda. But perhaps you do it because you are “tired”. And Hassan Fattah? Surely not a man with an agenda…

    I wonder, though, why is there so much emphasis on their being Sunnis? There are HezbAllah supporters across sects and religions in Lebanon. Are Sunnis somehow expected to be against HezbAllah by default?

    it appears that in some places at least, the claims of Hezbullah
    firing from occupied civilian areas may have some truth to them.

    It appears? Where does it appear? You are better off focusing on how and why the UN turned those civilians away, sending them away, to their deaths. I mean, after registering their names and searching them for weapons, they had to turn them back. Obviously they were terrorists. I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Yes, very obvious.

    I notice John Smith & co. are mum on the targeting of civilian convoys. So let’s say that there were indeed Katyusha launchers nearby. But I thought these were pinpoint attacks. So either Israel is really stupid, or it’s really stupid and criminal. Take your pick.

  15. Well, in the articles I linked “it appears,” that’s where. I’ll quote some more: (this time from Todd Pitman’s AP report:)

    (begin quote) “Nobody wants Hezbollah here,” Adel Abdallah said. “They don’t want to fight for Lebanon. They fight for themselves, for Iran, for Syria.”

    Residents talk bitterly of Hezbollah turning their village into a battleground.
    Hezbollah fighters have abandoned Marwaheen, but a white minivan incinerated by an airstrike stands beside a mosque. Villagers said it contained several rockets and a launcher that were later removed by guerrillas. What appeared to be a rocket tube covered with a green camouflage tarp lay dumped in a thicket beside an adjacent wall.

    A few blocks away, people pointed out a destroyed house that they said was a Hezbollah weapons depot. The roof of the stone building had collapsed onto a pile of rubble, from which peeked rocket-propelled grenades, mortar tubes and a dark green box that apparently once stored ammunition.

    “Nobody knew they were using our houses to store weapons. We were surprised to find them” after the war, said Wassim Abdallah, 24. “How could they keep weapons in the middle of all these civilian houses?”

    When the war broke out, people said, Hezbollah fighters in civilian clothes entered the village and set up launchers to fire rockets south into Israel. The guerrillas moved the launchers around, putting one on top of a house that was subsequently destroyed, they said. (end quote)

    And I do not understand for the life of me why the UN would turn the residents away. Is it something in the peacekeeping regulations? And it is still horrific that Isreal would fire on a fleeing convoy after they told them to get out. But the idea that Hezbullah “never” fires from occupied civilian areas or keep their weapons in occupied residential buildings is certainly contradicted by the Lebanese quoted in those two articles if the quotes are accurate.

  16. As to sourcing the NYTimes and AP – I am no “true believer” of any paper. I simply came across both articles (one reprinted in the Guardian, actually – I even read the commie rags!) on other sites.

    As to the qoutes about Sunnis, I do not know. I assume it is becaus
    Marwaheen is a Sunni village and is squarely in the Hariri camp (or “on their payroll” as you so generously put it.) and probably let that be known to the writers.

    But again, I’m not there, I’m only linking a couple of stories by writers who were there quoting Lebanese who claim to have been there. It could all be doctored like Reuters pool photo for all I know.

  17. Villagers said it contained several rockets and a launcher that were later removed by guerrillas.
    First of all, Marwaheen is a mere 500 meters from the border. Unthinkable that katyusha rockets would be transported in vans, and white of all colours, let alone there being a launcher on the van. Have these villagers, who claim they are saying the truth, actually seen a real Katyusha launcher?

    Also, reliable sources tell me that HezbAllah sees no need to move these launchers. I will not elaborate more.

  18. Ok, then the article writers are lying as they both claim to have seen the white van.

    I have no idea if “these villagers” have ever seen a “real” Katyusha. You can read the article as well as I can. That is all I “know.” But I would suggest, having seen rockets fire myself in a very different part of the world, that when a rocket fires from nearby, it’s hard to ignore.

  19. Israel also took to the habit of bombing irrigation canals. There’s nothing I hate worse than those darned terrorist tomatoes! I hate them.

  20. they both claim to have seen the white van.
    The articles are full of contradictions, in case you did not notice…

    “Nobody knew they were using our houses to store weapons. We were surprised to find them”
    What? Ah, so they didn’t even know what was in their houses. Yes, I am beginning to believe them…

    Then, in the other article,

    trucks would come and go in the middle of the night;
    And these trucks obviously unloaded weapons stockpiles and these were somehow stored in houses without the knowledge of the residents… perhaps while they were asleep… Santa down the chimney? Mmmm… You know, their story would’ve been more believable had they claimed HezbAllah forcefully stored those rockets in their houses…

    Then, about the white van,

    a suspicious-looking white van was parked at each end of the village.
    Suspicious-looking? Either there was a launcher “on” it (how do you put a launcher ON a van?), or there wasn’t. Which one is it?

    And then, a launcher on the roof of a building? Do you realize that a rocket launcher is not something that you can carry with one hand, and hide in one minute? Why would anyone put a launcher on a building when they can fire from the fields or even streets (as alleged), where they are more mobile and able to hide more quickly, without having the launcher destroyed?

  21. Actually, the villagers tell the BBC a very different story than the one they allegedly told the NYT…


    “We just want the UN force because they can protect us from the Israelis. The Israelis are still here during the night. We can’t leave our houses because the Israelis are still here.”


  22. Israeli army abducts four Palestinians (aged 23, 20, 16, and 15) in Rafah.

    This abduction of CIVILIANS will somehow go unnoticed. As will the continuous killing of Palestinians. Israel has the right to “self-defense”, but none of its neighbours do. In fact, this is not an abduction at all…  We must not forget that Israel has a judicial system… ah yes, that. As for the extrajudicial killings, well, they were terrorists… or would-be terrorists… I mean, surely those 5-year-old kids will grow up to be terrorists? Who can deny that? It’s “well-known”, eh?

  23. It is known that there are differences in news coverage between the western media and non-western media. The BBC’s coverage shifts at times, but is still more pro-western.

    Hezbollah is not defined as a terrorist organization by international standards. Efforts by the United States and Israel to have the United Nations classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization failed. The continued use of terrorist in relation to Hezbollah is a western belief that is not suuported by other nations in the world. Using the word “terrorist” automatically brings forward some stereotypes and limits discussion. The majority of people outside the United States and Israel view Hezbollah as a resistance group.

    One should keep in mind that the United States administration defining Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is the same administration that said weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, and presented such a clear and present danger that a pre-emptive attack was needed. It is the same administration that said the Iraqi people would welcome the USA forces as liberators.

    Let us also not forget that the head of the UN said the UN force would NOT disarm Hezbollah, and the UN forces would NOT patrol the Lebanon-Syrian border. It would appear that Israel and the United States lack the ability to do anything about these UN determinations.

    Any discussions should take these things into account. Hezbollah is not required to disarm and the Syrian border of Lebanon will not be controled to stop arm shipments to Hezbollah. The questions regarding the events in Lebanon should concern how to bring peace to Lebanon, not if Hezbollah is or is not a terrorist organization or if Hezbollah should or should not disarm.

  24. For those making wild claims about where Katyusha rocket launchers have been spotted, it might be of value to actually see a BM-21 Multiple Launch system in operation. It’s a Quicktime video.

    It is quite obvious that a) they simply cannot be fired in close quarters, b) they cannot be brought onto rooftops, and c) if any “van” had one, it would probably be crushed under the weight.

    Look at the video before making silly claims. Look at the video and tell me how you get the damned thing up the stairs.

  25. In my humble opinion, not only should HezbAllah not be disarmed (what a silly discussion), it should have squadrons of F-16s, battalions of tanks, and truckloads of surface-to-air missles (in lieu of the Lebanese military having any of this!). And I don’t care where they get them!

    Nothing short of this will make the warmongering terrorist state to the south mind their own freaking business and get off of other people’s land. Then again, Israel itself sits on other people’s land!

  26. John Smith,
    I can’t tell you how pleased as punch I am that you are “glad to be home”. Now stay there, will you? And all the rest of your kind.

  27. The Katyusha has several variants including a man-portable one:

  28. Er, sorry- man-portable? No picture on that link. This is all diversionary bollocks anyway. Obviously we are all simply Blind not to see that the destruction of 80 odd bridges, oil facility, milk factory, power station and 1200 civilians is all completely legitimate. Because Hezballah fighters always drink milk while lubricating their rockets with oil and lighting up the night sky so they can see the big red button on their katyushas which can only be fired from shoulder height while standing on a bridge or inside someone’s house. Go spread the bullshit elsewhere.

  29. a man-portable one
    Man-portable ones? Do you mean shoulder-RPG? Katyushas are half of an average man’s height and twice, if not more, the thickness of RPG… Also, when they launch Katyushas, they launch more than one, which means installing multiple “warheads”. Quite a heavy load to be carrying up and down a building in such a short time. And if these rockets were allegedly hurled from as far as Qana and Srifa, where some of the most horrible massacres took place due to the targeting of residential buildings and houses, then the rockets were probably not even Katyusha but Fajr-3…

  30. Chris, Israel will not survive if HezbAllah (or even the allegedly “legitimate” state actor, the military arm of the government of Lebanon [the Lebanese Army]) ever gets F-16s (or even outdated MiGs), SAMs or their equivalent, and other such “toys”… Not because HezbAllah would then go on the offensive, but because Israel survives on the oppression and subjugation of its neighbours, militarily, territorially, and, thanks to these two, economically.

  31. (I’ve set up something on the internet but now, everytime I come here, I’m automatically logged in as “tensile” – ‘fraid I’m going to have to live with it: Chris Swift is now “tensile”)

    As you correctly assumed, I never thought that a pariety of weapons by Israel’s neighbors (and I include Gaza and the West Bank here) would be used to militarily destroy Israel – only as deterrent: they’d be too afraid of another stick in the region as big as theirs. (I long for the day!).

    Yes, Israel simply cannot live on its own. If it were not for the billions of dollars the US gives Israel every year, it would collapse. If it were not for the masses of underpaid day-laborers Isreal “uses” every day (not only Palestinians, but people from third-world countries around the globe), the economy would nose-dive.

    They steal land and they abuse poor workers. Kind of reminds me of the Morloks and Eloys from the movie The Time Machine.

  32. Chris, try logging out of your wordpress account. That should fix it. Or delete the cookie in your browser. 😀

    Or,  just above the box where you can comment on my blog, it should say:

    Logged in as Tensile. Logout »

    Click on Log out.

  33. Also, keep in mind that abuse of poor migrant workers is also a real problem in Lebanon, UAE, KSA, etc. In fact, in Lebanon, Syrian workers are continually abused, even murdered (one of the achievements that “cedar revolutionaries”would be proud of). But you are right in that Israel would be unable to survive if it weren’t for the generous tax-free donations from U.S taxpayers’ money…

  34. Anarchorev,
    What the heck. I don’t really care. I kind of dig “tensile” anyway. Being a Physicist, it kind of “resonates” – as they say.

  35. As mentioned here before – using the New York Times and Wikipedia as sources of information is not advisable:
    1) the NYT sells its wares in a city with more Jews than in all of Israel. Not a harbinger of objectivity in reporting.
    2) Wikipedia entries can be made by anyone. It is “fact by committee”. What ends being believed as “true” by its readers is not much more than what most people who write the entries believe is true. A very weird skew to the world.

    Further to the wacky world of Wikipedia, it’s very much an extension of how most of us doggedly hold on to our beliefs. “It must be true because most people believe it’s true.” And when you fight the tide by presenting facts (true, verifiable facts that contradict their beliefs), well, you must be wrong because “most people believe you are wrong”.

  36. And the AP? Often accused in the west of being “pro-Palastinian.” Now you and I know that Hezbullah is without blemish, and any detractors are Zionists, “on the Hariri payroll” (rich, considering the cash handouts Iran – I mean Hezbullah – are handing out) or some other such. I am very impressed at how blame-free Hezbullah is. Samir Kuntar is not a child murderer he’s not even an issue, rockets sent toward Israeli soldiers are not attacks on Isreal. Kidnappings and killings of Israeli soldiers are not provocations. Hezbullah has no responsibility to abide by the decisions of the elected government of Lebanon (of which it is part.) NYTimes makes up quotes to please its Jewish New York readers. And the AP?

    It’s pretty funny if it weren’t so sad. There is a good article written by Uri Avnery – it points out, I think, the worst thing about Isreali mentality (after the tragic and absurd “collateral damage” deaths.)

  37. you also discount, I suppose, the Ottawa Citizen article from the Canadian peace keeper (later killed by Isreali airstrike) claiming Hezbullah was firing from around them, using them as a “shield.” The Citizen is pandering to the massive Jewish population of Ottawa.

  38. And the AP? Often accused in the west of being “pro-Palastinian.”
    Pro-Israeli West accuses pro-Israeli western media of pro-Palestinian reporting. Actually, it’s funny – I have been hearing a lot of complaints that CNN is biased in favour of the Lebanese in the latest war. I find that really funny. No, really. I mean, here was CNN, reporting on some broken glass in northern Israel, with not one minute dedicated to reporting on the damage – and we’re not even talking about the loss of human lives – in Lebanon. Western media has not been too reliable when it comes to war reporting in the Middle East. In fact, even the relatively “nice” Guardian has been exposed for deliberately skewing facts.

    So AP is all of a sudden an unmistakeable source? What’s the matter, I thought it was Israel that was accusing Western media of fabrications. Now AP all of a sudden becomes unquestionably reliable because its claims coincide with those of Israel?

    Your lame attempt at sarcasm was at best fallacious. I never said HezbAllah is without blemish. I merely pointed out to the obvious contradictions in the two stories, which is also completely contradicted by a third source, the BBC.

    I see we are back to Samir Quntar again…

  39. claiming Hezbullah was firing from around them
    From around them. Around them is not the same as near them. Around them could be anywhere within the range of 1-2 or 5 km. Actually, that makes no sense. If we are to believe that, then let us turn once again to the BBC article, which points out that HezbAllah launched rockets from a RIDGE behind a UN compound. So, with such pinpoint weapons as Israel has, why would a UN compound come under direct fire?

    But I find ironic the wording used – human shields.. The UN is not a civilian force. It is an armed force, though its mandate does not allow it to take part in battles. Unless someone was trying to appeal to the masses, or at any rate prove a point, with the same wording that Israel uses to accuse HezbAllah of holding CIVILIANS as human shields…

  40. katyusha launcher and some isreali soldiers.

    Images from a video of a katyusha being shoulder fired. A single katyusha rocket is large, but not so big any decently fit man couldn’t carry it up stairs –

    “Katyusha rockets come in light and heavy varieties that weigh between 46 and 77 kilograms, are 1.9 to 3.2 meters in length, and have a range of 14,000 to 20,000 meters. Katyushas carry explosive fragmentation, incendiary, or chemical warheads and are fired in salvos,’rippled’ sequences, or individually. ”

    Again, it does not make the quotes true, but clearly a single tube katyusha launcher can be put on a roof. And the tube in the while van was put there after the fact, or Todd Pitman is a liar.

  41. Actually the BBC doesn’t contradict, it simply doesn’t corroborate.

    Anyway, as I said, Hezbullah is unblemished, Kuntar is again ignored and Canadian peacekeepers discounted, Marwaheen residents either misquoted or liars (more than one), NYT makes up quotes for New York Jewish readers, AP makes up quotes for someone else. Katyushas – all 50 kilos and 6 feet of them – can’t be carried to rooftops, hezbullah doesn’t use civilian housing to depot weapons and are never, ever seen in white vans. Got it.

  42. “By the way, whatever you meant by “occupied” areas? Do you mean to say that HezbAllah, an indigenous group, is an OCCUPYING force?”

    oh, meant to respond to this early and forgot. I mean “occupied” as in “the rest room is occupied, please wait until it is vacant.” That kind of occupied. Someone there. It’s a pretty standard use, actually.

  43. Actually the BBC doesn’t contradict
    Sure it does. It claims HezbAllah launched rockets from a ridge behind a UN base. If the claims of residents were true, they would have been reflected in the article. Unless the NYT is more reliable than the BBC. And from Hassan Fattah’s field record (and NYT’s obvious agendas), I am not so sure..

  44. You know, I am really getting sick of you. You keep coming back to Quntar. Why not start a fan club? You seem anything BUT tired.

    And to respond to your attempts to appear smart:

    Re: 1st link, that’s not a Katyusha launcher, that’s a mortar launcher.

    Re: 2nd link, those are modified C5K rockets, not Katyusha rockets. Katyusha rockets have wings. Those clearly do not. They are similar to the artillery shells fired by Israel throughout the war.

  45. The recoil produced from firing a Katyusha would easily put a hole in a roof … Especially if it is being fired over a mile in distance.

    Some of the buildings shown wouldn’t even be able to support the weight of the launcher, much less the recoil.

    You’d think people that were so experienced with using weapons would know simple little things like that.

  46. I’m not the one who comes back to Kuntar. That’s Hezbullah: 2000, 20004, 2006.

    Now, I am certainly no expert on Hezbullah munitions. But there are Katyushas that can be fired from single tube portable launchers. They were used very effectively by the viet cong against American troops. Perhaps Hezbullah don’t have any of these. But, according to guys I know who fought in viet nam, they were fired from rooftops.

  47. I’m not the one who comes back to Kuntar.
    You are. Anyone who has been following your comments for the past 2-3 weeks would agree. Now, if you don’t mind, I don’t intend to continue arguing about Quntar.

    Now, I am certainly no expert on Hezbullah munitions.
    I find it funny that until I pointed out the obvious – that those were mortar launchers and not Katyusha rockets, you were trying to give exactly that image.

    But there are Katyushas that can be fired from single tube portable launchers.
    Untrue. Those are mortar launchers. First of all, it would not even be beneficial to design such a thing. Katyushas are relatively long range rockets. There is pretty much no point in launching ONE.

    according to guys I know who fought in viet nam, they were fired from rooftops.
    Yes, it seems these guys who fought in Viet Nam knew too much. I can tell that is why USA lost against the Viet Cong.

  48. Katyushas were used in Vietnam … But not from rooftops. RPGs were used from rooftops, though.

    I’ll try to make this simple, since it seems so hard to comprehend. When a Katyusha is fired, there is a large blast from the back of the launcher. There is basically an explosion that would happen. If it were to happen on top of a building, the roof would have a large hole in it and would probably catch fire. That could only happen if the house itself was sturdy enough to hold up the launcher in the first place. And in a lot of smaller Lebanese villages that were destroyed by the IDF, the homes cannot support such things.
    Then there is the method of shooting it from inside a building. First, the missle wouldn’t be able to make it out of the building unless placed directly in front of a very large window. Second, everyone in the room would almost instantly perish because of the explosion and pressure caused after firing.


    No idea if this is doctored on not – but it purports to show missles fired from building – or at least close proximity.

    Anyway, I think this debate has become too much ado over rather little. I don’t think anyone really thinks that Hezbullah “never” fires from civilian areas. That’s just absurd. It is a guerrilla group and it fires from where it can. It also stockpiles weapons where it can. I can’t imagine hezbullah is not smart enough to have redundency upon reduncancy in it’s weapons caches – esp since it needs to respond quickly. The very idea of a militia is to have arms close at hand. I find it absurd that anyone would suggest hezbullah “never” fires from civilian areas within range of occupied (meaning people still there since they are too afraid to leave since they might get hit by an Israeli missle) housing.

    The more important issue is whether Hezbullah purposely fired from places like Mahwaheen and Qana to invite civilian casualties, which some people have claimed. That there certainly is no strong evidence of. But it is also clear that not all rocket fire from Lebanon (and some was not hezbullah, it seems) came from “non-residential” areas.

  50. You never started arguing about Kuntar.

    And the guys I know from Nam would agree with you. They were not happy campers and some still are not.

  51. Anyway, I think this debate has become too much ado over rather little.
    Little? We are talking about the leveling of entire towns and villages based on claims (and what, a few videos, which, for all we know, can be, and probably are, doctored) that Katyusha rockets were launched from inside buildings, on top of roofs, streets with buildings on both sides, etc. We are talking about the leveling of entire towns, often with civilians in them, who were unable to flee, because Israel continued to fire at anything that moved. Deliberately. In effect, it was Israel that rendered the civilians as human shields. At any rate, I doubt you would have called it “little” had those demolished towns been Israeli ones. That’s just unthinkable, is it not? But you will come back to… Quntar. Yes, it’s about Quntar, only about Quntar. Quntar Quntar Quntar. When not even HezbAllah has talked about Quntar in over 2 months. Quntar Quntar Quntar. And then you claim it is HezbAllah that is obsessed, and not you. Why would it be absurd to claim HezbAllah never fires from civilian areas? Yes they are a guerilla army, but you forget that the situation in Lebanon is much more complex than, say, in Viet Nam. HezbAllah fighters also face local restrictions, as Israel has contacts with certain “elements”. They would naturally want to remain as far away as possible from civilian centers, hence the use of tunnels and bunkers… But you also make an assumption – that HezbAllah would be dumb enough to stay in civilian areas, just for the sake of launching a rocket – allegedly with a single-rocket launcher – from the roof of a house. Had HezbAllah been that dumb, or that naive to trust the goodwill of the Israelis in not targeting civilian areas (something they have a history in doing), they would not have evacuated their offices, relocated their television studios, etc. Of course, Israel lost not only because HezbAllah used guerilla warfare tactics but also because Israel’s pride and sense of invincibility and invulnerability led it to grossly underestimate HezbAllah’s power, capabilities, intelligence, willingness, and preparedness.

    Also, you do not seem to be aware that the massacre at Marwahin was on a road. A road. With no buildings on the sides, nothing. The convoy received direct strikes, seemingly from drones. Are you also going to say that there were Katyusha launchers around them? If so, then either Israel’s weaponry does not have pinpoint accuracy (which we are assured it DOES have), or someone thought killing a dozen civilians, many of them children, was just as fun as killing HezbAllah fighters (hey, if you can’t find the terrorists to throw your bombs on, get the would-be terrorists, eh? Always works). I know which is the correct answer. Do YOU?

  52. What are you talking about? According to Nasrallah they are discussing prisoners at this every moment.

    And as I have said again and again, Isreal’s response was murderous and criminal – but immoral acts on one side do not mean the other side has acted morally. Hezbullah is a rogue militia, acted without governmental authority and has appologized for it.

    It is a sad situation all the way around. I wish Israel would just leave Shebaa and its vineyards, help dig up the land mines as well as give the maps and stop kidnapping Palestinian governmental officials. Isreal has clearly lost the plot, but that does not make Hezbullah clean.

  53. What are you talking about? According to Nasrallah they are discussing prisoners at this every moment.
    And? What is your point?

    Hezbullah is a rogue militia, acted without governmental authority and has appologized for it.
    Apologized for it? Huh? Did I miss something? You must be reading NYT too much. Is that what they said? Nasrallah has apologized? That’s just great. That’s just fabulous.

    As for being a “rogue militia” (and what exactly is wrong in acting without governmental authority? Is governmental authority god-sent or something?), you can mince words, but HezbAllah remains a resistance force, and an effective one at that. Mind you, that does not mean that I agree with its ideologies, which seems to be what you are implying.

    I never said HezbAllah’s record is clean. Please point to where I said that. I took issue, however, to your going out of your way to point to HezbAllah’s crimes, without actively discussing Israel’s crimes which really dwarf those of HezbAllah… I mean, sure, you are saying something to the effect of “yeah yeah I am not saying what Israel did is right, it did commit crimes”, but that, to me, is not exactly the same as continually focusing on the horrible crime that someone – who was not affiliated with HezbAllah but whose release the group demands – committed 27 years ago. Do you sense any disproportionality here? Or are 2 Israeli lives infinitely more precious than 1200 Lebanese lives? Or will you respond with pointing again to HezbAllah’s obsession with Quntar? If so, please spare us.

  54. my point in discussing prisoners is that you said Hezbullah had not mentioned Kuntar in 2 months. I don’t think that’s true.

    And I still don’t understand you minimizing that Kuntar continues to be the stated reason for the raids and killings.

    I sense lots of disproportionality. That is part of what perplexes me about the prisoner demands. There are many, many prisoners that Isreal has taken who are obviously deserving of release. There are children, politicians, women, guys with the wrong name – I don’t know what the number Isreal actually holds is, but I’m a certain at minimum there are dozens upon dozens that deserve immediate release. That is why asking for someone that Isreal has shown they are unwilling to give up (and from all I know in the case, understandably) makes no sense to me.

    As I have mentioned before, I came to this situation with very little knowledge. Aside from being a pretty good reader of a wide range of news outlets, being fairly active in some freedom to write groups and having read maybe two books on the area (The Crusades through Arab Eyes, Tom Friedman’s) and being on an email list from Khaled Batarfi I have only had a passing exposure to the entire crisis. It was only when planning the trip to Beirut for my kids to join their “summer friends” that I started looking more deeply which brought me to blogs like this among other places.

    My suspicion of Hezbullah comes mostly from my Lebanese friends, who are very suspicious of their motives (to differing degrees – the two women I know the best are the most suspicious.) and think Hezbullah wants for Syria to come back to Lebanon and they do not want that. They believe that Hezbullah is complicate in some Lebanese political killings. I don’t know more than what they say and what I read. My friends are smart and honest, as long as I have known them, so I am inclined to take their opinions seriously. They are both Muslim and Christian – although all are from Beirut or the north.

    So I continue to try to figure the dynamics out the best I can. My posts annoy you. Ok. It’s your blog. At the point I am too annoying, let me know and I’ll move on.

  55. my point in discussing prisoners is that you said Hezbullah had not mentioned Kuntar in 2 months. I don’t think that’s true.
    I think what I said is true. It was only after Israel named its operation “Operation Just Reward” that Nasrallah (mockingly, in my opinion) announced that HezbAllah had a name for the operation too, “Al Wa’ad al Sadiq” (The True Vow, refering to a vow made that HezbAllah would secure Quntar’s and other prisoners’ freedom). Since then HezbAllah has not mentioned Quntar.

    Anyway, that’s as far as I will go into the issue of Quntar. I have been extremely patient, between the two of us we have posted more than 100 comments on Quntar, and you continue to bring his name at every single opportunity, often irrelevantly so. Either you are doing it deliberately, or you really have no clue.

    my Lebanese friends, who are very suspicious of their motives
    That’s not suspicion, that’s paranoia. A sugar-coating of racism and a disguise for deep, SECTARIAN hatred. I did not accuse your friends of being dishonest, but their opinions are merely THAT – OPINIONS, and what is worse, these opinions have no logical validity to them. Their conclusions are neither valid nor sound. Their beliefs are promoted by deep paranoia and virtually no understanding of regional affairs, and a misguided peprception of the history of Lebanon and its place in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    Your posts do not annoy me. However, your absolute and stubborn refusal to see beyond Quntar, does.

  56. I would think the issues with a rogue militia would be obvious. You are not accountable in any way to the populace at large. This appears to have been the issue with the militias during the civil war. While even “regular” governmental armies can be loyal to constituencies (ruling families, the miliary itself, neo-cons, “the party”) they – at least in theory – are committed to the preservation of the state. There are some that don’t believe that Hezbullah is committed to Lebanon as much as to the Shia’a. I don’t know if that’s true, but in theory a national army is much less likely to have devided loyalties (although that is not always the case).

  57. You are not accountable in any way to the populace at large.
    Actually, you are wrong. HezbAllah is very much accountable to the populace. Moreover, it is one of the most transparent groups (actually, perhaps one of two) in the government. As for the question of the preservation of the state – what is so great / legitimate about the state that you wish to preserve it? But OK, let us say that most Lebanese are not anarchists and do not share my views, then the question of whether HezbAllah truly wishes for and actively works towards the destruction of the Lebanese state as we know it in order to establish a different entity (I refer to this as the Shi’ite state myth) needs to be asked. And indeed this question was put to Nasrallah yesterday, and he answered it, saying he believed in national unity and that there is absolutely no plan for such a thing. In fact, he correctly pointed to the changing semantics of this myth, firstly it was an “Islamic state” (meant to scare the Christians of Lebanon), now it is a “Shi’ite state” (meant to scare the Sunnis, or the Sunnis and Christians of Lebanon). He hit the nail right on the head. A very intelligent and observant man.

    The Lebanese army would crumble in a matter of days – not because it is weak militarily (though that is certainly the case) – but because there is no real sense of national identity in Lebanon (though the “cedar revolutionaries” would like to think so, and would like YOU to think so too – a fine case of fooling oneself, and others). There never was any form of awareness in Lebanon – neither economic, nor truly national (though often racist nationalistic slogans are adopted and used to justify the murder of poor Syrian workers), nor social. Anyone who argues to the contrary has a lot of convincing to do.

  58. “apology” too strong? The English journals I’ve seen say he expressed regret. Is that correct?

    As to my freinds, they don’t strike me as paranoid. And they are not, as far as I can tell, alone among Lebanese in their views (and, as I said, their views are varied as are their backgrounds.) But time, will, of course tell how much interested Hezbullah has in Lebanon, Iranian shia’a concerns and/or Ba’athist concerns.

    I, personally, hope that my friends are wrong. There is obviously no way that Lebanon could, even if it wanted to, expunge the military aspects of Hizbullah. They will have to, at best, be rolled into a national army over time, it seems to me. Nasrallah is certainly acting and speaking as if his main concern at the moment is Lebanon, or at the very least his consituency in Lebanon (if the Pitman and NYT articles are to be believed, Hezbullah is aiding it’s most loyal constituents first – which is not surprising).

    I am not, however, optomistic at this point that there won’t be further clashes at some point, tho it sure would be nice.

  59. The English journals I’ve seen say he expressed regret. Is that correct?
    Actually, I would not even say regret. His words and tone were not indicative of it. It is undeniable that many will try to twist his words, but remember that this is a man who does not backtrack on what he said, and for that reason, he thinks twice before talking.

    if the Pitman and NYT articles are to be believed, Hezbullah is aiding it’s most loyal constituents first – which is not surprising
    This is another piece of myth, which was also addressed by Nasrallah during the interview yesterday (due to a question posed by the interviewer). HezbAllah has been paying cash to ALL those who have been effected, Muslims and Christians, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Maronites, etc. And will build homes for ALL those who have lost them, again regardless of religion/sect/political affiliation…

    they are not, as far as I can tell, alone among Lebanese in their views
    So what is your sample? You have 2 friends, or let’s multiply them and say 20, or 200, and then you have what, a few Lebanese bloggers bashing HezbAllah left and right (ironically those who have done that have also put the “cedar revolution” stickers on their blogs and seem to be obsessed with the corrupt Syrian regime more than the corrupt leaders that are the cause of their own impoverishment)? A very representative sample, I must note.

    By the way, would you please address the following questios?

    a) What is the difference between being tools/proxies/stooges of the Ba’ath and Iranian regimes, and tools/proxies/stooges of the Israeli, American (and in general U.S-allied Western) regimes?

    b) What is the difference between Syrian and Iranian supplied weapons on the one hand, and U.S supplied ones on the other (note that those who point to this discomforting piece of info put the emphasis not on who receives those weapons but who supplies them)? I mean clearly there are physical/technical differences (i.e. in terms of destructive power), but I doubt those are of “concern” to those peace-loving people who point out that “Iran supplies HezbAllah with weapons”.

  60. Anarch….

    I watched almost evry world cup soccer game this year and Zidan was (is) my favorate player. I also took on reading blogs since the Lebanese war of 7/12 and you are my Zidan. Your blog, stories, comments, and all the things you publish are awsome. Keep it up.

  61. The idea is not to be anyone’s stooge. Abdul is certainly not interested in Lebanon replacing Syria to be some other country’s stooge (he’s the person who has spoken most about this, so I’ll use him.) But he does not believe that Hezbullah ultimately is acting primarily for the good of Lebanon. He believes that as long as Hezbullah is the defacto military force in the south there will war with Israel. He is now back in Lebanon and I’ve only had “all is well, the milk is bad” kind of contact with him since the cease fire so I don’t know if he’s has changed his position.

    I have no idea what the difference is. Heck, Hezbullah’s probably getting some of the TOWs that Reagan gave Iran. The question is that of a “state within a state” or rogue militia or whatever you want to call it. Sure, we could go back to the days of private armies and personal militias (there are plenty of countries that still have versions of it) but I happen to think that nation states give the possibility of more stability. I mean, if you are going to grant Hizbullah it’s own militia, do you then condemn the SLA or Hariri or whomever if they have their militia and then don’t you end up back in civil war?

    They tend to think Nasralla and Hezbullah are too beholden to Syria and Iran and that Hezbullah blundered them into a pointless conflict over three people they are not that concerned about seemed to reinforce this idea for them.

    I’m interested in how my arab friends positions are racists – I suppose since Nada has some Armenian ancestry, perhaps, but you’ll have to help me with the others.

  62. Just hold off on the head butt until the post game handshake! Arggh. That was a heartbreak.

  63. Anarchorev/Anarchistan,

    Generally, I have much respect for your opinions, but I do have to agree with Tired that Nasrallah didn’t have Lebanon’s welfare in mind when he decided to take the Israeli soldiers prisoners. According to Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, the AUB expert on Hizbollah, Hizbollah foresaw Israel’s overreaction. If Saad-Ghorayeb is right, then Hizbollah deliberately provided Israel with a pretext to devastate Lebanon, knowing that weathering such a a military campaign would elevate its regional importance and provide a new model of resistance for the Arab world against Israel.

  64. Peter, did you actually read the article you linked to? Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, whose views I know rather well, and have seen her around my university campus and talked to her a number of times, is by no means a HezbAllah expert, as she claims she is. Actually, it is laughable to say that there is any such thing as HezbAllah expertise, except in so far as it is a historical one. Now, Ms. Saad-Ghorayeb is using that alleged expertise to actually speculate – and I emphasize that word – on Nasrallah’s INTENTIONS. Now HezbAllah is not like Israel. The latter is a very secretive group, and perhaps we will never know for real what decisions are made and how they have been made, and on what grounds, unlike, for example, Israel. That means, clearly, one thing. That it is easy to base one’s analysis of Israel’s intentions on historical facts, from research carried out on archival material, and so on. But to actually claim that HezbAllah deliberately did it without having the welfare of the Lebanese, or worse, the Shi’ite community, it’s main constituents, is a bit too much of a stretch. So let me get this straight – you are in effect claiming (and not, as you claimed, Saad-Ghorayeb, please do read the article carefully) that HezbAllah put Lebanon and ITS OWN CONSTITUENTS under the threat of tons of Israeli bombs, a total aerial and naval siege, total destruction of more than 20,000 homes, and even more businesses, billions of dollars of damage (to the Lebanese, especially the Shi’ites) and losses (to HezbAllah), which, had it not jumped to the forefront and said it would repay for and rebuild, would’ve lost it much of its support base, all for what? What was the purpose of it? Tired will say there is nothing beyond Quntar in HezbAllah-Israeli relations or lack thereof. So, let me get this straight – HezbAllah did all this for Quntar. Eh? And not, as any international affairs and Middle Eastern affairs expert / analyst would tell you, for domestic and regional calculations, and so on. Now, HezbAllah might’ve actually miscalculated, and thought that only its own locations (or at least locations that did not clearly contain civilians) would be bombed. Instead, Israel went on a civilian-killing spree, bombing refugee convoys, etc. That obviously boosted HezbAllah’s position. But to say that HezbAllah wanted those to take place is a very serious assumption, one that needs a lot of convincing and substantiation…

  65. Also, you forget, HezbAllah’s calculations might’ve also been based (and this is in my opinion a far more plausible explanation) on Israe’s clear intention to open the Lebanese front within the framework of a larger plan. In effect, what HezbAllah might’ve aimed at was sending a strong message, and actually shifting the rules of the game (a reference to it was actually made by Nasrallah in one of his speeches). Had HezbAllah sat there and waited for Israel to strike first, it would’ve had nothing on its hands to bargain with. That would’ve clearly weakened it domestically AND regionally. Instead, this victory, as rightly predicted by Nasrallah, boosted HezbAllah’s position and arguments as a necessary force both in Israeli-Lebanese, and Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Islamist relations.

  66. he does not believe that Hezbullah ultimately is acting primarily for the good of Lebanon
    But he believes that the Lebanese army, which served tea to the Israeli occupiers, was acting primarily for the good of Lebanon? Is that the Lebanon that your friend envisages? A Lebanon that would be helpless in front of Israeli violations, where the Israelis would go in and out whenever they so desired, and even march all the way to the north of Lebanon in a matter of days? I see, so Abdul prefers the tea-servers of Marja’youn to the resistance fighters of the south. Hmm, interesting choice. Though I am sure there is more to this desire to see HezbAllah disarmed than Lebanese nationalism or peace and welfare…

    The question is that of a “state within a state” or rogue militia or whatever you want to call it.
    That doesn’t answer my question. How is a “rogue militia”, which, by the way, any HezbAllah “expert” would tell you, HezbAllah is not, any worse than an army of tea-servers? And a state within a state? So you think the state should have the sole monopoly of violence. But if a state is a legitimate thing in your opinion, then why is the state within a state not legitimate? Isn’t it a state, too? Where are the development plans for south Lebanon and the Beqa’a? Where were the Lebanese police and army back in the 50s when the Syrians got into Sheba’a farms and built a police station there? Is this the state that the south Lebanese are supposed to leave their defense to? Or worse, to an army of tea-servers who hand their weapons to the occupiers and gladly undergo ID checks in order to be allowed to leave their barracks? Nation-states give more possibility for stability?? Is that why we have had two WORLD wars, which by no means are comparable, even by today’s standards of warfare, to the skirmishes taking place here and there, between armed groups? And the presence of nation-states (what about Islamic nationalism, or does that not qualify? Too dangerous for Israel, eh? You would then become “tired”) and governments and armies enjoying monopoly of violence did not stop interstate wars from taking place, eh? 1948, 56, 67, 73, Iran-Iraq, Iraq-Kuwait, and so on. There have been far more unstable manifestations by nation-states than “rogue militias”…

    HezbAllah is not a militia. If you are comparing HezbAllah to SLA or to any other war-time militia, then you need to enrich your knowledge. Domestically speaking, there is no validity to your claim. Junblatt’s and Talal Arslan’s followers’ Kalashnikovs have caused much more domestic instability than HezbAllah’s weapons. Actually, even a tool as (relatively, compared to your obsession with HezbAllah’s arsenal and the possibility that it might use them against the Lebanese) harmless as a knife has caused more instability in Lebanon than HezbAllah’s weapons. And if it is true that HezbAllah MIGHT use those weapons “in the future” against the Lebanese as those who are engaged in psychological warfare indicate, what stops HezbAllah from using it today? Or in the past, when it was under fire? HezbAllah could’ve whipped the ass of the army in one day (I wonder, would they have served tea to HezbAllah “occupiers” then?) and toppled the government and installed its desired regime. So, why has HezbAllah not done it? There have been far more stable times, and HezbAllah has not lifted a finger in that direction, at a time when Talal Arslan’s and Junblatt’s followers were exchanging fire.

    Whereas HezbAllah’s position prior to July 12 was restricted to domestic resistance, today it has a far more complex position in the regional framework. Today it is part of an elaborate network of “balance of terror” (though by no means HezbAllah’s rockets can ever do as much damage as Israel’s missiles, but you must also take into account domestic upheavals and discomfort, such as the one that caused Israel to “pull back a bit”). This is in addition to the rise of Iran as a diplomatic and military power in the region, challenging Israel’s hegemony.

    Lastly, on the issue of the state within the state, and the government’s complete disregard for the economic needs of the south and the Beqa’a, I don’t see how anyone can actually claim to have a point on this issue, when the government has not been doing its share – if not in terms of defending the population that acts as a buffer for the rest of the Lebanese militarily, then in terms of economic development. Instead, all the emphasis is placed on Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and third comes the north (and to a certain extent Sidon). So if this sectarian government is unwilling to do anything for the south and the Beqa’a, any tangible development that would show to these people that the government cares for their welfare, what right have the government and its defenders to criticize HezbAllah’s state within a state? There is NO state in the south and the Beqa’a, never has been. And if we are to look at the track record of Lebanese governments in the past 10 years (make no mistake, these were the same people, Junblatt, Hariri, etc., who were collaborating with Syrian occupation and pocketing millions of dollars from Lebanese taxpayers’ money), then we can also, with absolute certainty conclude that there NEVER WILL be a (Lebanese) governmental presence in those two underdeveloped and virtually ignored areas.

  67. The problem with rogue militias and states within states is that the larger state often pays for their regretable actions. The problem many have with Hizbullah is that they do not condone nor support the cross border adventures and prisoner swapping campaigns nor did the wish to risk the results that occured. There are clearly massive problems with Lebanese central authority, and it’s track record in the south on many fronts from internal to external security seems to be abysmal. At the same time, the damage that this latest regretable adventure has produced is massive and destructive as well. Whether Hizbullah anticipated it or misjudged, the result is the same (and either action indicates a failure of leadership) and it is a result I do not believe most in Lebanon would have chosen.

  68. America had a state within a state once. It was called the Colonial General Assembly. They took up arms, and overthrew the Brittish. People talk as if a state within a state is something new.

  69. I don’t talk as if a state within a state is something new. Militias or private armies of some sort were the norm for most of history. But the “America had a state” or “American’s were terrorists” is sophistry and off the point. No one is debating what the colonialists did in the 18th century, it’s what is good for Lebanon. Perhaps seperation of the south is best for Lebanon. I’ve seen some writers mention that idea in passing. I don’t think Hizbullah calls for that, and I don’t know if very many Lebanese support the idea, but if that’s what you are suggesting Roxie, then ok. What would that involve and how would that work?

  70. My name is Ali. I am from a village in the South of Lebanon. I do not live there at the moment but i hope to return in the near future. Return to MY beautiful village, MY home, now destroyed, smashed to pieces, totally flattened.
    who is paying for my village, for the suffering of my people, for the pain of my land? WE ARE PAYING. WE SUPPORT HIZBOLLAH AND THEY ARE PAYING. WE are the original people (al-asli, al-baladi). WE have a right to our land and WE suffer for our land.
    PAYING? Paying with what? with money? WE PAY WITH OUR BLOOD, WITH OUR LIVES, WITH THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN AND PARENTS. so what costs more my friend?
    Yes we fight and HIZBOLLAH will fight of course because HIZBOLLAH is comprised of the indigenous people, not outsiders, not terrorists, NO. You must understand this. LEBANON belongs to the LEBANESE PEOPLE, to us, not to ISRAEL, and we have a right to fight for our land and NOBODY CAN STOP US.
    the concentrated destruction of a region CANNOT be justified, because you have crippled a civilian population and only making support for HIZBOLLAH even stronger. The lebanese people do not want israel to come into LEBANON, and support is from all sects in LEBANON, (but maybe not one or two of your friends).
    I hope to return to my home soon, in the near future. i want to sit on the green green grass, the fertile land, go to the virgin beaches, what are they now, SPOILT, RUINED, DESTROYED. You have RAPED OUR LAND, SHAME ON YOU ISRAEL.

  71. That’s terrible and very difficult for me to even conceive of, Ali. I hope you can rebuild somehow.

    But I want you to know that no one in Israel wants your land. That’s why the Israeli public spent a decade pressuring the country’s leaders to get out of Southern Lebanon. Israel’s fight is with Hizbullah – not because it defends the land but because it attacked and kidnapped its soldiers and then fired rockets at its civilian population.

  72. It is quite an irony, how quickly Hezbollah started rebuilding the country. In the US, only 60% of New Orleans has electricity. The tap water is dirty and weak, from holes in the pipes. Garbage is still on the streets.

    Interesting post.

  73. But I want you to know that no one in Israel wants your land.
    Israel’s (and Israeli public’s) track record in West Bank and Gaza for the past 39 years (and counting) is not very reassuring, is it?
    kidnapped its soldiers and then fired rockets at its civilian population.
    The rockets were fired at the civilian population AFTER Israel started firing at the Lebanese civilian population. Or is your memory THAT weak? Flashback to July 13. Doueir massacre. Have you ever seen footage of the impact of the chemical and biological bombs on human bodies? Somehow I doubt it. After all, the media of your freedom-loving most-moral-country-in-the-world was censored.

  74. Question One: Is it a concern to the people of Lebanon that Hezbollah is Iran’s puppet on a string? Are the people of Lebanon worried the puppet master may pull the strings but the people of Lebanon will pay the price? I am asking because I wish to hear the Lebanonese people’s view on this association.

    Question Two: Why is Isreal’s military so active in Gaza recently? Quoting: “Troops also flattened crops, destroyed greenhouses and chicken coops and uprooted dozens of trees on Wednesday, residents said. The army had no comment on the report about the destruction.” Are chicken’s suicide bombers? Are trees hiding missiles? Beware of Palestinian chickens. How does destroying chicken coops, greenhouses and trees prevent terrorism?

    Question Three: Will the Middle East bring this cycle of violence to an end or will it continue to grow until one or both sides use weapons of mass destruction?

  75. Question One
    Depends on whom you are referring to by “people of Lebanon”. The majority of the Lebanese? The majority of Lebanese support HezbAllah.

    Question Two
    Pretty obvious. You answered it yourself. 🙂

    Question Three
    The latter.

  76. Amos,
    I’m afraid that far too many of Israel’s actions in this latest IDF riot (and stretching back for decades) argues against everthing you say.

    Just one of those actions (of the uncountable number) which continues to enrage me is Israel’s so-called “security wall”. It’s just one more pretext for stealing land. Stealing even more land than it has already stolen. The wall separates farmers from their orchards. It is criminal and outrageous what they continue to get away with.

    Israel has never failed to treat its neighbors as if it owns them! And America encourages it. After all, it’s great for business. Great for the arms dealers in America: Israel buys almost all of its military hardware/software from America. Many middle eastern nations also buy much of their military equipment from America. The military/industrial masters in America just grin in glee at the horror, with dollar signs in their eyes.

  77. There is so, so much to say about this. but first of all it is very important that people do not generalise.
    ‘HIZBOLLAH puppet on a string’, it’s a good question but let me tell you the situation is not exactly so. do you realy think that the people of LEBANON do not want to defend their land? they will fight against the oppressor, against the terrorist israel. you must understand that there never was a HIZBOLLAH 20 years ago, it was created in response to israeli attacks against the LEBANESE, you must not ignore this fact. you must study the history of LEBANON and see the history of israeli attacks upon the LEBANESE. so in effect the actions of israeli terror against LEBANON was the source for the initial creation of HIZBOLLAH who defend their land.
    THEY ARE LEBANESE PEOPLE NOT IRANIAN. and if you talk about money coming from iran, SO WHAT? millions and millions of dollars given to israel from the US and UK! so what is your point?

    DO NOT tell me HIZBOLLAH kidnapped israeli soldiers, HIZBOLLAH firing missiles to israel, this is all reactionary, israel has thousands and thousands of LEBANESE prisoners, so why don’t you speak of them?
    why don’t you condemn israels mass destruction of LEBANON? why do you just complain about some missiles from HIZBOLLAH who targeted israeli miltary, not 1,200 civilians. so what do you expect the LEBANESE people to say yes israel you bomb our land and we will not respond? what the hell do you expect. this discussion should not be about HIZBOLLAH defending it’s actions when they are acting in self defence, instead it should be about israel accepting and admitting their major fault, and apologising for the MURDER and DESTRUCTION of their neighbour. But they will never because they feel that they are a superior human race.

    An earlier comment on this page regarding SAYED HASSAN NASSARALLAH feeling ‘regret’ for this war. He did not expect israel to react as MONSTERS. The capture of two israeli soldiers is a method for negotiating the release of LEBANESE prisoners held illegally by israel, and has been used in the past, and this is not just a HIZBOLLAH tactic but used by military all over the world. Had HIZBOLLAH been aware of israels outrageous and totally disproportionate offensive against the LEBANESE people, they would not have taken this route, read SAYED NASSARALLAH’S speech he says everything.
    but he does not regret defending his country. these are human feelings and he’s not ashamed to express this, unlike olmerts continuous denial of his GREAT, DISASTEROUS MISTAKE for both the LEBANESE, israelis and the israeli soldiers.

    so much more to say…..

  78. I made a very simple point. Israel is not interested in holding onto Lebanese land. The only argument you (Anarcho & Swift) have been able to make is of the form that since Israel is evil, it must be interested in conquering Lebanon. Sorry, that’s not a real argument or evidence.

    But who cares…what’s the use arguing with you anyway. I think “my kind” (a very felicitous phrase used by Chris Swift a couple of posts ago) will just stay on my side of the border. Have fun with your fan club and continue your critical dialogue.

  79. The only argument you (Anarcho & Swift) have been able to make is of the form that since Israel is evil, it must be interested in conquering Lebanon.
    Where did you get that from? I argued that since Israel is “evil” it must be interested in conquering Lebanon? I didn’t even mention the word. You seem to have a complex. The point is that Israel has, over the course of its history, occupied land and settled people on it. The land was conquered by wars Israel itself started. Gaza, West Bank, Golan, etc. The only reason Lebanon was not the same is that there was, from the initial stages, an active popular resistance.

  80. And the point I’m making is so simple as to be downright simplistic – a simple analysis of how the shape of the border lines has been redrawn since 1947 makes it painfully clear to all but the blind that Israel is stealing and occupying land that is not its land. How much more clear can this get? I will not detail the litany of transgressions. Figure it out for yourself.

    Israel’s history of conquering, stealing, and occupying land is so obvious that all thinking people should be very very wary of them and their aims. Do we remember that Israel held on to Lebanese land for a generation? Have they all turned some wonderful corner of enlightenment and decided, “Whoa, let’s just leave those folks alone?” I don’t think so. The claim that HezbAllah “started” the whole thing, is pathetic and hollow. This invasion has been planned for at least a year! Israel’s attitude toward it’s neighbors is that it will do what it wants, when it wants. And the waters of the Litani are mighty tasty.

    I think “my kind” (a very felicitous phrase used by Chris Swift a couple of posts ago) …
    The word means: “well-suited for the occasion, as an action, manner, or expression; apt, appropriate.” Thank you for realizing the truth of its use. (It’s refreshing when people see the light, isn’t it?)

  81. I’ll tell you, Amos, what would be fascinating to me is for you to say what exactly you thought I meant by the phrase “my kind” (e.g. “You and your kind”). Who did you think I was referring to?

  82. Amos, to quote you…
    (Anarcho & Swift)
    I leave comments with my first and last name. I am the only “Chris” on this blog. Use my first name if you must choose one. Using only my last name is dismissive and insulting. (Although, yes, you later used both my names – I acknowlege that).

  83. By the way, Israeli helicopters have been violating Lebanese airspace despite the ceasefire, and in some instances it is reported that they dropped food materials for the occupying soldiers. Now, this is in violation of the ceasefire, regardless of whether or not it has a military/strategic objective or not. Israel should be warned that if it doesn’t halt its violations, the ceasefire would collapse. If they can’t get food to their soldiers, that’s THEIR problem. If their soldiers are starving, they should withdraw. Any such movement is a violation of the ceasefire.

  84. Here’s an interesting comment I just caught from a UN Commissioner:

    Ninety percent of the cluster bombs Israel dropped on Lebanon were dropped in the last 72 hours

    – when a ceasefire was imminent – and all of them provided by the good old U S of A! If nothing else convinces you that the United States of Israel is run by barbarians and murderers, this should. The most moral army on earth – my ass!

  85. Clarification: by “last 72 hours” I meant, of course, the 72 hours preceeding the cease fire agreement (not the 72 hours preceeding this comment!) – but you all got that anyway, true?

  86. Yes Chris, you’re right, and if anything, it again shows Israel’s good intentions towards the “poor civilians who have been held hostage by HezbAllah”. I am sure the kid who lost his leg or his mother or father due to those cluster bombs will testify to the goodwill of Israel towards him and his family.

  87. We are all sorry to see innocent civilians being hurt.

    On the specific subject:
    The goal of most weapons is TO KILL people, let’s not be surprised when people are hurt by them. Now let’s be more specific. There are MANY types of artillery ammunition shells, ranging from ones that just light up the night sky all the way up to small strategic atomic bomb shells. In the cluster shells family, the most problematic to civilians are the ones that spread anti-man mines. The IDF artillery forces do NOT have this kind (I never saw these shells). If this report is correct, we are talking about cluster shells that split just before impact to a large number of small explode-on-impact bombs to increase the range of impact (footprint). As far as I know, using these shells (‘popcorn’ shells) is legal by almost all states. The problem with these shells is that some small percent (about 1% if I’m not mistaken) of the small bombs fail to explode on impact (due to malfunction) and if not discovered, can hurt people in the future. Since these are probably one of the most effective anti-infantry shells, if I’m to choose from being almost surely killed by HA anti-tank unit and the possibility, that someday, in the future, maybe, if not discovered, a civilian will be hurt from one of these bombs…

    Again, we are all sorry to see innocent civilians being hurt. War sucks. Always.

  88. The problem with these shells is that some small percent (about 1% if I’m not mistaken) of the small bombs fail to explode on impact
    Actually, the number varies according to the type of cluster bomb, but the failure rate can be as high as 30-40%. There is no doubt that the cluster bomb “rain” in the last 72 hours was meant to be a measure of revenge against the civilians. Perhaps hoping that they would be too afraid to return. Or if they did, that as many civilians as possible would be hurt. One Israeli high-ranking official said during the war that this was not a war against all Lebanese but against LEBANESE SHI’ITES (that means, not just HezbAllah but also civilians who support HezbAllah). Again, having Israel’s track record in mind, there is no doubt that Israel had the worst of intentions. This, of course, is only one instance. Consider, for example, Israel’s deliberate (and illegal) refusal to hand over mine field maps. These mines continue to kill and maim civilians, especially children, to this day.

  89. ‘…the number is around 30-40%…’
    – From my military artillery training I remember about 1% (for the new shells).

    ‘…as many civilians as possible would be hurt…’
    – I don’t claim to know Lebanese people more than you do. Don’t claim to know the IDF better than me (I’m there since 1993). The IDF don’t target civilians.

    ‘…One Israeli high-ranking official…’
    – IF that really happened, he is stupid.

    ‘…refusal to hand over mine field maps…’
    – I agree with you that these maps should be handed to Lebanon.

    Peace dude.

  90. #1: %1 is not even close. In Kosovo recorded failure rate was at least 11%. In Lebanon it is much, much higher. And actually, the failure rate reported by arms industries is very low compared to real life figures recorded by bomb/mine clearance agencies.

    #2: I know the IDF more and better than most Israelis do. After all, “WE” have lived under the terror unleashed by the IDF, not “YOU”. You can continue, for another 2000 years, to claim the IDF does not target civilians, but I’m afraid that won’t make it true.

    #3: Yes, that really happened, and no, I don’t think he was stupid, just honest (or come to think of it, not so honest, because the war was against ALL Lebanese not just the Shi’ites). Unless you mean he was stupid for saying it “as is” or trying to fool the world to think it was against “only” the Shi’ites. 🙂

  91. John,
    Of course the IDF targets civilians. I happened to see a BBC report from Lebanon, with the reporter live, when an artillery shell hit a building in the distance. You could hear the explosion and see the smoke rising. The next thing that was video-taped was the sound of ambulances going to the scene. Shortly after that, what happened? Another shell landed in exactly the same place!! It is quite obvious what is going on. They’re killing all the people who arrive on the scene to rescue the dying and recover the dead. Outrageous.

    There were also numerous reports of this pattern of behavior: drop leaflets telling people to flea for their lives, bomb the one exit road, then bomb the cars stuck on the road. Give me a break, will you?

    And as to the immoral use of the cluster bombs…was there a sudden and amazing surge in HezbAllah infantry swarming the countryside in the last 72 hours prompting the IDF to unload 90% of it? Of course not. This was done in the same vein as the fire bombing of Dresden. Everyone knew the fighting was to stop. This was nothing less than the most moral IDF’s way of getting in one last cheap shot. One last punch to the face. The “gift” that keeps on “giving” (and blowing up children years from now). Shame on you and your IDF.

  92. And the most moral Israel continues to blockade air and sea access. A flagrant and shameful violation of the ceasefire causing continued and unnecessary misery of the people – all the people. Congratulations. How sweet does that moral high road taste, anyway?

    What I would love to see is a naval and air blockade of Israel! How loud would they all scream and whine then? And while we’re at it, I think it would be excellent if the Palestinians decided where the “security” wall (read as “steal more land wall”) would be built.

    I’m convinced that there is only one way for the virulently pro-Israel camp to actually realize the horror of what they are doing, actually bring them to their senses – give them a dose of their own medicine. See how they like it.

    And speaking of shameful, I think it’s shameful that the Lebanese military apparently has no tanks or SAMs! Having a neighbor as hostile and acquisitive as Israel would make that compulsory. Their “army” and “air force” was a complete sham. Regardless of who you believe “started” what, I simply cannot imagine a situation where a country is invaded by another and you (the Lebanese government) do…nothing. They sat on their hands. Shameful.

    Not even bothering to mobilize their military sends a pretty clear message to Israel: hey, we’re cool with this. Outrageous. The so-called “leaders” of Lebanon should be thrown out on their asses for that lack of will, that lack of response alone.

  93. One of the Israeli talking points is always that unlike Hezbolah or Hamas, Israel is “sorry” when they hit civilians. Therefore, they are not the “brutal murderers” they typically paint all Arabs. This state of “sorry”, then should result in self reflection, changes in policy and a commitment to peace. But, no– it leads to more and wilder militarism. “Sorry” is not working. You need to go back to the Israeli propaganda machine John and tell them, heh, the marketing guys need to come up with some new angle. You guys burned through this one.

    Sorry when dropping cluster bombs? Sorry when dropping them with the intent to kill civilians? Sorry? NOPE Fellas. Go back and do some “atonement”. So, before this Yom Kippur maybe Israel needs to reconcile itself that it was not sorry, that it is an aggressive state dedicated and devoted to war. Maybe you as an IDF member can start the truth telling. Murder is murder.

  94. What I would love to see is a naval and air blockade of Israel!
    That would be the peak of anti-Semitism, wouldn’t it? …. 🙂

  95. Go back and do some “atonement”
    I think the only thing that Israel may be atoning is the the fact that 20 tanks were blown up and three naval ships sunk!.

    John, I don’t know you so it’s a bit unfair of me to say so (and please correct me if I’m wrong), but, to be honest, I don’t think you’re a bit sorry about the civilians who were killed. I think you view this as a justifiable collateral “damage” in the face of a greater need – destroying HezbAllah, which, as we all should know – (a) did not work and (b) they’re more revered today than they have been in some time. You probably don’t need more than the fingers of both hands to count the number of people in the world who think that HezbAllah actually lost the latest IDF riot. The fact is that they won; they won hearts and minds, and they stopped the IDF ground forces in their tracks. When it comes to hearts, minds, and balls – HezbAllah won!

    the peak of anti-Semitism
    Yes, it certainly must be. I mean, after all, to condemn the policies of Israel means you’re an anti-semite.

    The problem with playing the “anti-semite” card (and I appreciate your sarcastic wit, Anarchorev) – the problem with this is that it is now…boring. They have sucked all the sympathy out of me that they’re going to get for the Holocaust. There have been so many tv specials and movies and newspaper articles, that I’ve now reached a saturation point. I am now anesthetized to it. I now officially do not care about the Holocaust. Of all the massacres and barbarian tragedies that have happened over time, it seems we are only allowed to “know” or “care” about the Jewish Holocaust (which affected untold numbers of non-Jews also [but we’re not supposed to know about that, are we?]). I do not care how many Jews died in WWII. It happened. Get over it. And stop using it as a weapon. It’s boring.

    And although I’m not quite prepared to make the “Jews are the New Nazis” analogy (at least until George “where are our assassins when we need them” Bush starts selling Israel stocks of Zyclon-B), it is very interesting and curious how many direct comparisons can be made between official statements of Nazi officials and Israeli officials – justifying their actions. Curious, indeed. (I won’t delineate them here; I think we know what they are.)

    it needs to be clarified where the term ‘ANTI-SEMITISM’ derives from: ‘SAMI’ the people who descended from ‘SAMI’, son of ‘NOAH’ in arabia. this applies to the arabs of the region who are ‘SAMI’ or ‘SEMI’, which includes jewish, muslim and christian arabs. this does not apply to non-arabs.

    the word ‘SEMI’ has been taken out of context and manipulated to apply to only one religion, THIS IS WRONG, however, this has been done deliberately so serve a purpose.

  97. Tanya,
    Yes, indeed. The term covers a wide range of peoples and, for some reason or other, seems to apply only to Jews now!? It’s basically a non-sequitur. What the heck happened there?

  98. Wow, you guys are so incredible that I had to intervene. Do you have any idea when the term antisemitism was invented and in what context? The first person to use the word was a proud German antisemite in the 1870s called Wilhelm Marr. Let me assure you that for him, Semite meant Jew. The reason he did not smply call himself a Jew-hater was that he wanted to give his prejudice a more “scientific” (i.e., racial) foundation. Tanya, your comment is so problematic I am not sure where to start a critique. First of all, do you really believe that there is such a thing as a “Semitic” race or group of people? Yes, SHEM was one of the sons of Noah, but the terms “Semite” and “Semites” are products of the racist European imagination of the late 18th and 19th centuries. If you look at usage of the term by antisemites, it has almost always been with reference to Jews and not to Arabs. The Nazis avowed antisemitism did not prevent the Mufti Haj al Amin from becoming very friendly with them; he obviously did not see Arabs included in the term.

    Tanya, your claim that “this does not apply to non-Arabs” is true only in your personal universe.

    Anyway, the designation only makes sense in linguistics, where we can speak of Semitic languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Amharic. There are no people called “Semites” unless you believe in racial science.

    Finally, it’s unbelievable that both of you guys blame JEWS for monopolizing the term. Do you think Jews invented it? Is it their fault that antisemites used the term “Semite” almost exclusively when attacking the “Jewish race”? What the heck happened there?

  99. If you look at usage of the term by antisemites
    Anti-Semites do not use the term, and in fact argue that they are NOT anti-Semitic. Moreover, let us grant you the monopoly over that term. What does that prove? Does it prove that anti-Semitism is in a league of its own when it comes to racism? There have been many a genocide and ethnic cleansing perpetrated based on racial “profiling”. Anti-Semitism is not unique in that respect. In fact, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism and hatred, the vanguard of which is Israel, seem to be the norm these days. Sad to see that you would be more interested in holding monopoly over a term than in preventing another holocaust, the foundations of which seem to be in the process of being constructed, a construction that is proudly being led by none other than Israel.

  100. taken, in part, from

    The term “Semite” has been used to define a people, although on a linguisitic basis. They include: Arabs; the Akkadians of ancient Babylonia; the Assyrians; the Canaanites (including Amorites, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, and Phoenicians); the various Aramaean tribes (including Hebrews); and a considerable portion of the population of Ethiopia. These peoples are grouped under the term Semite, chiefly because their languages were found to be related, deriving presumably from a common tongue, Semitic.

    The words “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Semitic” are, in fact, semantic misnomers. Jews constitute no more than 10 percent of the world’s Semites. The overwhelming majority of Semites are Arabs. Furthermore, most Jews today could not trace their ancestry back to the Holy Land and, therefore, are not true Semites at all. Ninety percent of the world’s Jews are descended from converts to Judaism, mostly the Khazars in what is now the southern USSR. The Khazars accepted Judaism as their monotheistic faith. They did not have the remotest connection with the Semites of the Holy Land.

  101. Anarchorev, your first statement is simply wrong. The historical record BEFORE 1945 is FULL of antisemites who proudly used the term to describe themselves. Read some German, French, Polish, Russian, or Romanian sources.

    Further, you have completely misconstrued me. Where do I say anything about antisemitism being in a league of its own? I am well aware of the fact that there have been many other genocides in human history. You obviously did not read or understand my post.

    I don’t understand why you would say something like “let us grant you the monopoloy over that term.” What does “you” mean here? You as in MOI? I certainly was not arguing for having any kind of personal monopoly over the word. Or did you mean “you” as in “the Jews”? That strikes me as even more insidious – why do you have to conflate me with the whole Jewish people? Do you think there is one homogeneous Jewish collective that assumes monopolies over terms and histories?

    Anyway, your last bit about another Holocaust happening is pure demagoguery. There is no genocidal campaign being waged against Muslims, except for in Darfur, where other Muslims are perpetrating one against their co-religionists.

    Chris – it’s hilarious that you chose to quote that piece of nonsense.I am not even going to bother to respond.

    Just out of curiousity, Anarchorev, do you agree with what Chris has written?

  102. It seems strange to me, Anarchorev, that in order to win proper recognition for recent genocides other than the Jewish holocaust you feel the need to downgrade that event and the obviously related phenomenon of antisemitism. I rather think that a more effective strategy would be to draw analogies on the basis of the already widely accepted judgement on the Jewish holocaust in order to raise the public profile of, say, the Armenian one.

    Similarly, it appears to me that, despite your claims to provide nothing but “objective analysis,” your attacks on Israel are motivated by a desire to correct an imbalance in widespread perceptions. I must say I have no such ambition, and prefer to try to understand what’s happening as best I can in order to make judgements that are not merely grist for the polemics mill. Your views of the Israeli left, for example, are not so much absurd as fundamentally unhelpful. It seems that to you no left is deserving of the name unless it completely disavows the legitimacy of the state. As someone who has been dealing with immigration hassles for the past year I’m hardly a big fan of the authority wielded by modern states, but to relegate to practical fascism any group that is willing to operate, for strategic purposes, within the state framework demonstrates a staggering degree of arrogance. There are many people in this world who’s morals, knowledge, and actions are not to be haphazardly impeached simply because they do not conform to the ideal of ideals that you hold. As your own struggle with self-identity should teach you, the reasons humans end up on one path or another are not always obvious. But above all, the horrendous state the world finds itself in today (and always) is, to say the least, rather complex, and while I admire you principled moral clarity, I take serious issue with your eternal confidence in your own views, which seem to have undergone a number of sea changes in only the last couple of years.

  103. Chris – it’s hilarious that you chose to quote that piece of nonsense.
    You’ll need to be a bit more specific here as I’ve posted several comments.

  104. it’s not ‘racial science’ don’t be so silly, and do not dismiss the concept of ‘sami’ or ‘semi’ it is an arabic word, it is ARABIC.
    ok, maybe you are right, this term has now become to be used in conjunction with jews but in it’s original context it did not only apply to jewish people. maybe you are not ‘semi’ but due to the way the terminology has been formed, ‘anti-semitism’ has been created, manipulated and shape to refer to one group. OK.

  105. The word first appears in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew name שם or SHEM (not the “concept,” which is certainly modern) has the Arabic equivalent SAM (سام). In the same way that the Hebrew Noah (נח) has the Arabic equivalent نوح – Nuu7. The original context is the Hebrew Bible. Jewish exegetes in antiquity, traced the descent of Jews to SHEM, and identified Noah’s other sons with a few other peoples. Much, much later, European linguists and anthropologists, often racists, classified Jews, Arabs, sometimes even Armenians, as well as a number of other people as “Semites.” ANTISEMITISM on the other hand, from the invention of the term, has referred almost exclusively to the hatred of Jews. First, the the Jew-haters who invented the term identified themselves as antisemites, because to them it sounded more genteel and respectable than the term “bigot,” for example. As a result, antisemitism today refers almost exclusively to the hatred of Jews.

  106. Chris,

    I was referring to your last comment (#101) where you “quoted”, which I’m sure you realize. What part of it was “taken” from that website? It would help to have some quotation marks. Not because that would give this nonsense any more authority but because it’s the intellectually responsible thing to do. Also, just in case you didn’t know, the USSR no longer exists. Anyway, do you actually believe what you “wrote” (or assembled) there in comment 101?

  107. Ariel –

    Where and how did I “downgrade” the Jewish Holocaust?? Not once did I say such a thing, not even remotely. It seems that you believe I did, merely based on your belief (nothing else can explain your disgusting accusations) that in talking about OTHER holocausts, ethnic cleansings, ghettoization, and apartheid movements, there is a betrayal of the memory of the Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis. It seems, too, that the Jewish lobby in USA has also adopted such a position, so much so that it sees an inherent danger in the recognition of the Armenian Holocaust. Of course, you can continue to accuse me of anti-Semitism for the mere fact that I point to the hypocrisy of the Jewish community, which if not actively supportive of the Jewish lobby, nevertheless tacitly approves of its actions (for example, by mostly keeping silent on the terrible denial, by the lobby, of the Armenian Holocaust). Not that I expect anything better than that from that lobby; even if it DOES recognize the Armenian Holocaust, the matter would not end there. After all, it continues to massively support and exert pressure for the massive funding of the ethnic cleansing currently taking place in Palestine/Israel.

    As for my views of the left – not at all; I do not expect everyone to endorse my views of the state. Only that I DO expect people to hold true to the principles they claim to represent. If they are unable to do so in all instances, they should not even bother taking a position on anything. The point I was trying to make is not that these movements should transcend the state or seek to destroy it, but that they should stop endorsing and falling prey to the nationalist rhetoric (of party politics) to merely advance their standing or appeal (even if the sole purpose of boosting their position is to gain enough leverage to achieve their ultimate aims, which they perceive would bring about peace and justice). Because in such a case, “freedom” and “justice” in Palestine would be built on the skulls of the children of south Lebanon, and “freedom” and “justice” in Lebanon would be built on the skulls of children elsewhere in the region, and so on. Either you support massacres or you don’t, either you use correct and accurate labels at ALL times, or you don’t. I’m afraid there’s no shade of grey when it comes to the identification of the ethnical implications of massacring civilians. None whatsoever.

  108. Amos,
    The Jews of Eastern European origin make up about 95% of the Jewish population today. They are known as Ashkenazi Jews, and that being of Khazar origin. In the readings I’ve done, the numbers do not vary much – somewhere between 80 to 95%.

    The most interesting facts that’ve I’ve found are based on DNA studies. Apparently, there is a form of breast cancer that is specific to Ashkenazi Jews. There are two main gene sequences that are present in Ashkenazi’s that do not appear in the gene pool of other peoples. Over time, thousands of Jews have been DNA sequenced to see if the genes are present. It turns out that they are – in roughly 90% of the Jews tested. Again, there were thousands tested – primarily in the US, but in other parts of the world also.

    I don’t know how “up” you are on your knowlege of DNA, but (in case you’re not) – there are dominant, co-dominant, and recessive genes and just having the genes does not mean you get breast cancer.

    There is another genetic anomaly that expresses itself in deafness. There are genes for this that are also specific to the Ashkanazi Jew. In other DNA tests, it was found that roughly, again, 90% of Jews today have these genes. As with the breast cancer genes, these genes for deafness are rarely expressed in the population and a healthy Ashkanazi couple having children have no more to worry about than couples from other origins.

    There are other studies I’ve read of a more anthropological nature that make a direct tie from the Askanazi people to modern day Jews.

    So it would appear that the vast majority of Jews today are Ashkanazis from a Khazar origin. Now the Khazars never were Semites. They converted to Judaism. Being such, modern day Jews have no connection to Palestine, no connection to the Biblical Hebrews, or the so-called “Holy Land”.

    Now I won’t get drawn into the “Who is a Jew” debate. It’s something that, frankly, is not interesting to me. There is also the issue of “How do you know when you know something?” With fire, it’s kind of easy, it burns! But with so many other things that we choose to “believe”, it depends on which sources of information you’re reading, and of those, which ones you “trust”, and of those you trust, why you trust them.

    I find the DNA evidence to be particularly compelling.

  109. I accidentally left out something. The next to the last sentence in paragraph 2 should read “…roughly 90% of Jews with a pattern of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.”

    Same for the deafness paragraph.

  110. Hilarious. So what are you reading Chris? I am especially curious about the anthropological studies you cite. And thanks a bunch for the genetics lesson. I mean, what would I do without your persistent efforts to enlighten me?

    Anarchorev, again, I am really curious about your take on some of this stuff. Are you also into these kinds of theories?

  111. Amos – I really don’t care about such things. I am not into placing people into boxes, something YOU ALSO seem to be particularly fond of (though you criticize others for doing that).

  112. The question is not whether or not Jews have a right to the “holy land”, but whether or not they have a right to STEAL the land that others own or have lived on for decades.

  113. Amos, this is a reply to the questions you posed to me:

    1) Do enlighten me on that historical record.

    2) I did not say that you said that anti-Semitism is in a league of its own. I was asking YOU a question. To focus solely (or even mostly) on anti-Semitism and claim that it is an unmatched evil is a bit misleading, don’t you think? Sadly, such a position has been adopted time and time again by the Israeli government and the Jewish lobby (I will not say Zionist lobby because many of the non-Jewish Zionists are anti-Semites – in both senses of the term), and has been incorporated into the Israeli mentality (that does not mean there are no exceptions – but the mentality IS the norm. And it is not to say that Israelis do not care about racism against others, in many cases they do, but they often – at least all the Israelis I have met have – place anti-Semitism in a league of its own; hence my question).

    3) Regarding the monopoly over the term, my point was that you and others are so busy battling semantics that you forget that words are irrelevant and the real debate should be about the concept that these words are supposed to represent. So, whether you consider anti-Semitism to refer solely to anti-Jewish racism / bigotry, or to be inclusive of anti-Arab racism, is pretty much irrelevant. The heart of the matter is that there is racism, and that racism is alive and kicking in the “holy land”, and yes, there is a lot of anti-Semitism on the part of the Arabs, but there is ALSO as much (if not more) racism and bigotry on the part of the JEWS (Israelis AND Jews elsewhere) towards Arabs and Muslims.

  114. Wait a second, Anarchorev, are you saying that Israeli and other Jews are sometimes more sensitive to antisemitism than they are to other expressions of racism? I’m absolutely flabbergasted. How dare they?

    Of course Israeli and other Jews are sensitive to anti-Semitism and are more prone to react to it than to racism against other groups. In that sense, they are no different from any other ethnic group or community, from African Americans to British South Asians. Why condemn Jews for being especially worried about an ideology that threatens them? Would you attack black people who are outspoken in their fight against racism against black Americans? Would you dare to accuse them of trying to place the racism they face in a “league of its own” because they devote less effort to, for example, fighting anti-Korean racism? For the record, Jewish civil rights groups and individual Jewish activists played a leading role in fighting racism in the United States in the 1960s.

  115. In that sense, they are no different from any other ethnic group or community
    And that makes my criticism illegitimate how? It merely proves that tribalism is a destructive trend that needs to be eliminated.

    Why condemn Jews for being especially worried about an ideology that threatens them?
    I do not condemn them for being worried about it, but I do condemn them, as I do condemn all sorts of nationalist “understandings” of what racism is, for adopting a definition of racism that delegitimizes the worries of the other side. In most cases, legitimate grievances by Israel’s enemies caused by Israel’s disrespect for human rights (and a whole bunch of other things) are portrayed as fueled by intense anti-Semitism (though there certainly is an anti-Semitic trend in Arab politics and public opinion, it does not delegitimize the grievances, nor does it prove that these grievances are fueled by anti-Semitism). There seems to be an obsession, not just a worry, with anti-Semitism in many circles in Israel. Concern with anti-Semitism is legitimate, and anyone who claims otherwise is either stupid or racist, but that does not mean that it should make us forget about other issues, including the very own racism of those who are concerned with anti-Semitism. No matter how worried one might be about anti-Semitism, does it justify one’s adoption of other forms of racism under the cover of “defending oneself”?

  116. what would I do without your persistent efforts to enlighten me?

    I kind of resent the sarcasm in that. Especially considering that what was being discussed was a genetic matter and, although you may be relatively well-versed in the topic, probably most people in the world are not.

    Not knowing you, I don’t know what you know on this topic.

    Your sarcasm is snide, hostile, and uncalled for. Pick up the tone a bit, big guy!

  117. yes the word ‘shem’ ‘semi’ appears in the jewish bible, so what? but the jews were not the first people to step on to this earth, SO PLEASE GET OVER IT!

  118. No, Anarcho, being worried about antisemitism does not justify adopting other forms of racism. But given their historical experience, many Jews no longer assign the backseat to the fight against antisemitism.

    You asked me to “enlighten” you on the historical record – I assume you were asking about Jew-haters who proudly called themselves antisemites. It might be hard to imagine today, but being an antisemite was not always regarded as a stain on someone’s resume. Here is a little bit on various European countries, by no means complete. I hope this is enough though, as I don’t really have the time or energy to pore over more antisemitic writings.

    I refer you to Wilhelm Marr (1818-1904), author of such gems as “Der Sieg des Judenthums ueber das Germanenthum vom nicht confessionellen Standpunkt ausbetrachtet” [The Victory of Judaism over Germandom, Examined from a non-Religious Perspective”] who popularized the term when he founded the Antisemiten-Liga (League of Antisemites) in the 1870s. Below is an excerpt from the former text. The English translation is from a compilation of primary documents called THE JEW IN THE MODERN WORLD (Oxford University Press, 1995)- unless otherwise indicated, the following passages are also taken from this collection, which is available in most libraries:

    “‘Blood and Iron’ had to continue because of the frivolous, worthless, fanatical action of the Semites in Tours. Poor Judaized France! In England, the Semite Disraeli, a German-hater (comme il faut) holds in his vest pocket the key to war and peace in the Orient. Who derived the real benefit of the Congress of Berlin from the spilled blood of the Orient? Jewry. The Alliance Israelite Universelle was first in line. Rumania was forced to open officially its doors and gates to destructive Semitism. … this Semitic people, … has us under heel … The historical fact that Israel became the leading social-political superpower in the 19th century lies before us. … With the entire force of its armies, the proud Roman Empire did not achieve that which Semitism has achieved in the West and particularly in Germany.”

    I am sure you will agree that from, let’s say 1918-1945, the Nazis and/or their predecessors made no bones about the antisemitic nature of their activities.

    You can look at the political activities and writings of someone like Edouard-Adolphe Drumont (1844-1917), for example, La France Juive (1885). He did not conceal the fact that he was organizing an antisemitic movement in France. La France Juive begins with an analysis of the two distinct racial types allegedly battling it out in France – the Gallic Aryans and the “Jewish race.”

    Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927), in Die Grundlagen des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts [The Foundations of the 19th Century] (1899), described the peculiar qualities of the Semitic race and expressed his opposition to the Jews on those grounds. His antisemitic activities intensified when he moved to Germany to marry the daughter of Richard Wagner (another very proud antisemite), and he later befriended Hitler.

    Obviously, it’s not hard to find Russian anti-Jewish writings, but we are looking for documents where antisemites identify themselves as such (rather than simply as Orthodox Russians). You could turn to the testimony of some witnesses for the prosecution at the infamous Beilis ritual murder trial (1911), where a Jew was accused of killing a 12-year-old Christian boy in order to use his blood for a religious rite. Ivan Alexeyevitch Sikorsky (1853-1919) testified on the racial characteristics of the Jews and the alleged history of Jewish ritual murder. He also denounces a certain “well-known opponent of antisemitism.” Sikorsky’s reference to his opponents makes it pretty clear that he publicly identified himself as belonging to the antisemitic camp.

    If you look at the writings of someone like Roman Dmowski (1864-1939), one of the founding figures of the right-wing National Democratic Party in Poland, you will again see that the Endecja (National Democratic) polemicists never conceal their antisemitism, because the Jews are a virulent, parasitic force posing extreme dangers to the Polish nation. Furthermore, publicly professing their antisemitism earned the party’s candidates votes in the age of mass politics in Poland. For a recent study of Dmowski & co., see the last chapters of Brian Porter, When Nationalism Began to Hate (Oxford University Press, 2000).

    Look at the speeches, articles, and political organizing of someone like A.C. Cuza (1857-1947), a big fan of Drumont, and one of Romania’s most dedicated antisemites. His party, the National Christian League (LANC, in Romanian) attracted the most votes from Romanians by preaching antisemitism in areas where Jews had the most visible presence, such as in Bukowina, parts of Bessarabia and Moldavia. See Eugen Weber’s classic article on Romanian fascism, “The Men of the Archangel” in Contemporary History (1966). Again, seeing as his antisemitic platform attracted people to his movement, he would have been a fool not to publicly identify himself as an antisemite.

    Note also that I prefer to spell the word antisemitism without a hyphen. The reason for this is that”anti-Semitism” implies that there really is such a thing as “Semitism.” In fact, such an entity exists only in the racist imagination.

  119. Tanya – what are you talking about? Who said that the Jewish people were the first to step on this earth? You made a number of statements that were wrong. Someone called you on that. That’s all. No one was trying to prove that Jews are superior to other peoples.

  120. Amos – of all the names you mentioned, only one clearly uses the term anti-Semitism in the manner that is relevant to the point I raised. The rest are anti-Semites, but the point I raised was not about that.

    As for the hyphenation and the Semitic “race”, what is your take, then, on Israel’s racial double-checking when it comes to the “law of return”? Doesn’t that mean that Israel claims there is a Jewish (/Semitic) race?

  121. Anarchorev,
    I may have confused you with some of your commentators when I wrote that you “downgraded” the Jewish holocaust, and if so, I apologize. But the following you most definitely said, which to me is a downgrading of the very idea of holocaust or genocide: “…another holocaust, the foundations of which seem to be in the process of being constructed, a construction that is proudly being led by none other than Israel.” What has been happening in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon over the past years and up to now is awful, in no small part due to the actions of the Israeli government (although it is hardly the only one responsible). But let me remind you that, as of today, anti-Muslim violence is most prevalent in Iraq, where certain Shia and Sunni groups seem to have no compunction about ethnic cleansing. This is not meant to be taken as a condemnation of barbarous Muslims, but rather to point out that the supposed “holocaust” of Muslims (or whoever you meant) can hardly be said to be spearheaded by Israel.

    More importantly, nothing that is going on in the region can (as of yet) be compared to the Jewish, Armenian, Cambodian or any other genocide. The scale is simply not comparable. Therefore any comments such as the ones quoted above about Israel leading another holocaust (very similar to the common equation of Israelis and Nazis, which is absurd beyond measure), is pernicious grandstanding that does, in fact, “downgrade” THE Holocaust, as it is known in the West, and others.

    I do not, as you unjustly claim, support any agenda to keep the Jewish holocaust the only or even major one in public memory. I do not tacitly support the Jewish lobby in the US, whatever that may be exactly. As an Israeli and an American I’m always wary of American Jews whose faces light up when they learn I’m Israeli, then immediately want to know what it was like to serve in the army (I didn’t) or, starry-eyed, start telling me about their two-week birthright trip to “Yerushala’im” (as if the word “Jerusalem” was somehow not Jewish enough). I’m equally wary, in this Bush-led country, of born-again Christians whose faces light up when they learn I’m Israeli, then immediately begin to heap praise on me not because they know who I am, but because I am one of the “chosen people.” I understand, therefore, what it means to be classified, categorized, and dealt with not as an individual, but as a manifestation of some idealistic fantasy held by others. I also understand that it is hard and sometimes dangerous to try to escape your ethnic or national group entirely. So I feel entirely justified in taking a special interest in Israel, it’s welfare and policy blunders, etc., as well as the Jewish holocaust.

    You say that Jewish concern about antisemitism is legitimate in principal, but that in many cases it has metastacized into an obsession which denies the legitimate grievances of others, whether or not the voicing of those grievances has been accompanied by antisemitic rhetoric. In this connection I want to make two points: (1) first, you should think about the historic reasons why Jews are so sensitive to antisemitism, and understand that (to the extent that analogies from individuals to collectivities can work) they have suffered a trauma the effects of which linger with great power; (2) the grievances of others are not to be ignored or glossed over, but it does matter who is articulating them and in what manner. I dare say Germany had legitimate reasons to resent its treatment at the Treaty of Versailles after WWI and that the Nazis gave voice to many of those grievances. Similarly it is true that Japan, as a polity, had been a victim of racist policies by powerful western countries, but that does not justify even remotely the destructive wars waged by the militarists. I recognize that Palestinians have a litany of real grievances that stretches to the moon and back, that they have the right to arm themselves and fight the occupation, but not that they have the right to destroy Israel, as Hamas explicitly wants to do.

  122. Anarcho,

    All of the figures I mentioned identified themselves as antisemites, and were identified as such by their SUPPORTERS (not only their opponents). There is no real debate about that. Talk to a European historian at your university.

    Do you really think that the law of return means that Israel determines citizenship based on race? How do you explain the remarkable diversity of Jewish immigrants to the country? Have you seen some of the pictures of the soldiers who died in action in the recent war? There are Russian, Yemenite, descendants of Polish, German, Romanian, Persian, N. African, and Ethiopian Jews among them (and combinations thereof).

    The law of return gives citizenship to those who are Jewish by religion or to those who are descendants of Jews (again, by religion). So, no, the state of Israel does not claim that there is such a thing as a “Semitic” race. In any case, the word “race” and its Hebrew equivalent are pretty taboo in Israeli society. That is not to deny the existence of discrimination and prejudice that we would call racist (by Jews against Arabs, by Ashkenazi Jews against Mizrahi Jews, by Mizrahim against Ashkenazim, by either one of those groups against Ethiopian Jews, by Ethiopian Jews against Arabs, by Arabs against Jews of all kinds, by Arabs in some localities against Arabs in others).

  123. I think you’re being a little disingenuous, Amos. Israel does accept Jews from all kinds of countries and “races,” but you know very well that the practical definition of Jew in Israel is not a religious one, as the many entirely secular Jews there can attest to. Whether it states so explicitly or not, the state of Israel does posit the existence of a Jewish ethnicity (not race, perhaps, but the distinction here is not all that great) and the land of Israel as its rightful home. It tolerates the presence of an Arab minority and imports foreign workers when the Palestinians from the territories get too rowdy, but it hopes that the former won’t reproduce too quickly and makes sure that the latter doesn’t overstay its brief welcome. Most Jews in Israel, be they religious or secular, are not ready to give up on the idea (and reality) of Israel as a homeland first and foremost for Jews. They are not ready to turn Israel into a cosmopolitan state that does not draw distinctions between its citizenry and potential citizenry.

  124. Ariel,

    I don’t think we really disagree. I was responding to Anarcho’s claims that Israel used “race science” (on Kishkushim earlier) to determine who is a Jew and who can be a citizen under the law of return. Of course the reigning definition of Jew in Israeli society is of Jews as an ethnos, if you will. But that is a) VERY different from race, and b) hardly exceptional. I also do not disagree with your other statements. I would be the last to call either Israeli society or the Israeli state “cosmopolitan” and certainly neither is post-nationalist.

    I fail to see how I was disingenuous, especially since I was not making an argument for how cosmopolitan, progressive, or tolerant Israel is. I was taking issue with the insinuation that citizenship is determined using racial science or that the Israeli government embraces the notion of a “Semitic” race. I am sure you realize how patently absurd such claims are.

  125. How do you explain the remarkable diversity of Jewish immigrants to the country?
    That still does not delegitimize DNA testing… Moreover, there is a difference between genetics (race) and ethnicit (culture, traditions, practices, language).

    A few years ago, DNA testing was used to “determine” the Jewishness of a group of Indians who claimed they were one of the “lost tribes”. Tzipi Livni, in response to a question posed about the usage of DNA testing within the context of the law of return, gave a vague and evasive answer, saying that the authorities can ask any form of evidence to determine the eligibility for the law of return.

  126. Law of Return:

    “The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law…are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew”. This of course is not halahkic law. It gives citizenship rights based on ethnicity.

    Conversely Palestinians marrying Israeli Arabs are excluded from obtaining Israeli citizenship.

    The whole ‘who is a Jew and who isnt thing’ is frankly bizarre (and Chris Swift’s posts are especially bizarre). The reality is Israel is schizophrenic – a seemingly modern society but with an underlay of religious and nationalistic rules which do not correspond to modernity. Modern societies must aspire to treating all citizens equally regardless of origin, religion, gender, etc.

    Of course Anarchorev would not agree with this because as a radical anarchist she does not believe in states or borders at all. The question then is why bother defending Lebanon? Logically she should be calling on Israelis, Syrians, Palestians, etc. to overthrow their governments and abolish citizenship.

  127. I don’t understand your point. Are you saying that Israel routinely uses DNA testing (a la Chris Swift) to determine who is a Jew (or Semite) and who isn’t?

    The genetic differences between humans of different “races” are negligible. Race does not have a biological foundation. It is above all a culturally constructed phenomenon.

    The category of ethnicity, which is perhaps no less problematic than race, for most people includes so-called blood-ties and kinship. In the case of Israel, there is certainly a sense of belonging to a common people for most Jews, although it is obvious to anyone who walks down an Israeli street that Jews have mingled with hundreds of different other peoples over the ages. How else would you explain the vast differences in color and physiognomy among Israeli Jews?

    Also, please send me the link to that article. Being rather personally acquainted with a few Indian Jews living in Israel, I am curious about what ultimately happened to the particular group of people in that article.

  128. RWE – I agree with most of what you say, with a few caveats. First of all, as I am sure you know, with regard to matters of civil status, the halakhic criteria DO matter in Israel (talk about schizophrenia!). If you want to get married as a Jew, you have to be a Jew according to halakha. Furthermore, it should be added that anyone who converts to Judaism (let’s not open the whole can of worms about which branch of Judaism) can also become a citizen under the law of return.

    Finally, I would add that the reality is that many modern states are rather schizophrenic when it comes to citizenship. Think about the “Wolga Germans” who automatically get citizenship in Germany, or Japanese and Korean laws. One could also add Armenia to the mix, and a host of other countries who grant citizenship to members of diaspora communities based on blood ties. I am not saying all this to argue that such policies are just – only to point out that modern states are not all that “modern.” (By the way, I take issue with your assumption that “modern” is a normative category that corresponds to justice, enlightenment, universalism, or any of those other great things).

  129. Amos – You are right that I assume that ‘modern’ ‘corresponds to justice, enlightenment, universalism, or any of those other great things’. In this sense Japan and Korea are not modern as they have an ethnic definition of citizenship. So does Russia. Germany has changed its laws recently to conform to a more pluralistic definition of citizenship. Armenia does not, currently, provide for an ethnic definition of citizenship although there is an interesting debate going on there now about dual citizenship and what should be the criteria. Anarchorev has a bee in her bonnet about this isue. Incidentally Armenia has small comunities of Jews, Kurds, Assyrians, Russians, Greeks who have equal citizenship rights.

    Concerning marriage, the problem in Israel is not that if you want to get married as a Jew you must be considered to be Jewish under halakha. The real problem is that it is not possible to have a civil marriage in Israel therefore you must leave Israel to get married ( eg in Cyprus) if you dont want to go through all kinds of legal and religious contorsions.

  130. The objection to Israel’s favoring of one group of people, however determined, has merit, especially when put forth by Israeli Arabs whose ethnic group is not favored by the state. At the same time I recognize that Jews, a small group of people, have very legitimate reasons for wanting a state of their own, reasons based on obvious historical circumstances that go well beyond the holocaust.

    Good point. I’m not sure where Anarchorev’s loyalties lie and on what basis.

    Why did you change your name from Anarchistian, which I take to be shorthand for Armenian anarchist, and what brought you to choose that name in the first place?

  131. Yes, right on RWE. That is a serious problem (civil marriage).

    Don’t you think there are problems with that kind of definition of the modern and of modernity? Just curious…it has come under attack quite a bit lately. I just that find that kind of conception of modernity a bit difficult to work with. It doesn’t make sense to me to say that certain countries or people living are not modern while others, living at the same time, are.

    Hmm…maybe I am wrong on this, but doesn’t Armenia grant citizenship to Armenians who return from the diaspora? I thought they were actually similar to Israel in that regard, although of course I stand corrected if I am mistaken. Please explain. Also, you know that Israel, has large communities of Palestinian Arabs and Beodouin (before you all jump on me, I am talking about in the pre-1967 borders), as well as smaller communities of Circassians, Druze, and others (sorry guys, whomever I am forgetting) who have equal citizenship rights. Of course, this is not without problems – you pointed to the case of Palestinian spouses of Israeli Arabs, etc. But what is the situation with Azeris who want Armenian citizenship? Not saying this to pick on Armenia … just trying to understand and compare / contrast.

  132. Ariel – actually, it did not refer to “Armenian anarchist”. I intended to mock the tribalism of the Armenian community by adding the “ian” in the end.

    The question then is why bother defending Lebanon?
    Where did I defend LEBANON, as in the STATE? I await your “evidence”.

  133. doesn’t Armenia grant citizenship to Armenians who return from the diaspora?
    Actually, it does not. And I despise the term “return”. Most Armenians have nothing to do with what is today Armenia (and Nagorno-Karabakh, where many Armenians have settled).

  134. I stand corrected. Thanks.

    Anarchorev – Maybe you feel like you have “nothing to do” with what is today Armenia. But other diaspora Armenians have a right to want to build up their country and to feel some kind of connection to it, even if their ancestors came from Western Armenia or Cilicia or somewhere else entirely. They can also describe this as a sort of “return.”

  135. They have a right to? As in, a natural right to? States are constructs, and as such, the right that you are talking about is also a construct. And it can and should be deconstructed. At any rate, no, they do not have a right to do so at all costs. They do not have the right to do so at the expense of Azeris who were forced out of Armenia (ethnic cleansing) and who are not allowed to come back. They do not have the right to settle in N-K on occupied territory and take over the land and houses of the people who used to live there but were driven out.

  136. Anarchorev

    – Actually a diasporan Armenian can become a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. The issue is that since Armeina does not allow dual citizenship he would have to give up his other citizenship – something few are willing to do given the current state of affairs. As I said there is debate and legislation pending on this issue.

    Also contrary to what you say most diasporan Armenians do support Armenia. Furthermore Armenians have not ‘settled’ in Nagorno-Karabakh but are indigenous.

    As far as defending Lebanon what happened to “Nahnu zahibuna ila Haifa, wa ila ma ba’da Haifa, wa ila ma ba’da ba’da Haifa.”? Of course you are defending Lebanon and rightly so as you are a citizen of Lebanon, and you care so passionately and so eloquently about it. By the way I see that you did call for leftists to unite on July 24 ‘Anarchists, communists, socialists, leftists of the region unite!’

    Amos – There still are a few Azeris in Armenia as there are Armenians in Azerbaijan, mostly spouses of the other ethnic group. Armenia is far from the model of a modern society but then it is only 15 years old as an independent country and has survived genocide, Stalin, wars, earthquakes, more war, blockades, economic collapse, etc.

    Ariel – Dont you see this is the heart of the tragedy here. Jews having a legitimate desire for their own homeland seem unable to acknowledge that another people, the Palestinians (indeed many Jews until recently denied there even was such a people), have suffered. A people was dispossessed and a wrong was committed which has to be addressed before there can be peace in the Middle East. This wrong has reverberated throughout the region (and arguably the world) to the situation we now face.

    As far as the State of Israel goes it must treat its non-Jewish population as full citizens with the same rights and responsibilities.

  137. funny how you talk about ‘return’. so european jews have a right to return to palestinian land even though they have no connection there what so ever?
    can you explain this please?
    is it justified that palestinians have been forced to leave their homes, their land stolen, similar to the situation above regarding the armenians?

  138. Actually a diasporan Armenian can become a citizen of the Republic of Armenia.
    That is not quite the same as Israel’s dual citizenship system and “law of return”. In fact, Armenia has no such law. It does not conduct racial testing. But that is not to say that just because Armenia has such a system, it justifies what Israel has been doing. I presume that is why Amos brought it up. And yes, Armenia’s criteria are just as disgusting as those of Israel. Now imagine, would Armenia ever allow the Hamshen, Muslim Armenians in Turkey, to “return”? Never. In fact, there is a lot of racism in Armenia’s reasons for not adopting dual citizenship – the eastern Armenian vs western Armenian issue.

    Many Armenians HAVE settled in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, such as LACHIN (which has been renamed Berdzor), which was not part of NKAO.

    what happened to “Nahnu zahibuna ila Haifa, wa ila ma ba’da Haifa, wa ila ma ba’da ba’da Haifa.”?
    How is that a defense of the state of Lebanon?

    Of course you are defending Lebanon
    To jump from A to C, you need B. So where/what is B?

    rightly so as you are a citizen of Lebanon
    Yes I have citizenship but so what? The only thing I use it for is to travel around (passport). Other than that, I don’t care about my “citizenship” and no, defense of the state is not “rightly so”.

    and you care so passionately and so eloquently about it
    Again, from A to C is quite a leap, but no point B.

    There still are a few Azeris in Armenia
    There are no Azeris in Armenia. There are Kurds, yes, there are Yezidis, yes, there are Iranians, yes, but not Azeris. There are, however, a few Azeris still remaining in N-K “by virtue” of their mixed marriage.

  139. RWE,

    Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have historically refused to recognize the legitimacy of the other’s claims. Both sides insist that they are the true, righteous victims. At present, it seems to me that the narratives are hopelessly irreconcilable.

    I am not sure why you are criticizing Ariel. I don’t think there was anything in his comments which suggests that he does NOT see “the heart of the tragedy there.”

    Also, you seem to have misinterpreted my queries about Armenia, despite the disclaimers I included in them. I am well aware of the tremendous difficulties faced by this young state and society, as well as of the tragedies that have befallen the Armenian people in its history. I have nothing but sympathy for the state and the people who live in it and in the diaspora.

    As for your last statement that “As far as the State of Israel goes it must treat its non-Jewish population as full citizens with the same rights and responsibilities” – I can only say Amen. I would add that it is not only the state that must do so but also its society.

  140. RWE,
    I would also like to see Israel, the state and the society, treat all of its citizens equally, but I don’t really see how it would be possible in the foreseeable future. Mind you, I am not, therefore, endorsing this situation, but the facts remain. Israel was and is intended to be a state for Jews, and this is something Jews in and out of Israel are not willing to give up. The right to instant citizenship and state aid for foreign Jews cannot be extended to everyone for obvious reasons of space and finances. Will Israel then treat foreign Jews just like any other foreigner? Unlikely. Will buses run on Friday nights and Saturdays? Will the horn stop sounding on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

    I am aware, RWE, that the situation is a tragedy. I am aware of it very palpably because there is a lot at stake for me in Israel. Unfortunately most people have short and selective historical memories. And also most people do not want to make real concessions to a perceived other side, or they resent it when they have to.

    Do you think that European Jews went to Palestine/Israel to dry up the marshes and irrigate the desert because it was a nice place to vacation? Do you think that out of the entire globe this site was chosen at random or for its abundant natural resources (which it doesn’t have)? There was a felt connection–I don’t justify it, but I’m not so self-righteous as to think that other peoples’ ties to their lands are necessarily any more legitimate. I live in the United States, and while I think the genocide of Native Americans was tragic and reprehensible, I do not advocate giving the land back and sending all these Europeans, Asians and Africans back to their “homes,” since after all they have “no connection what so ever {sic}” to North America.

  141. [Anarchorev:] They have a right to? As in, a natural right to? States are constructs, and as such, the right that you are talking about is also a construct.
    What about the Palestinian claims to lands?

  142. John – are you saying that the following two are one and the same thing:

    -Diasporan Armenians having the “right” to settle in the Republic of Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh, but whose lands are part of the Republic of Turkey.

    -Palestinian refugees having the right to RETURN to their lands.

  143. #141. so, you try to legitimise the stealing of palestinian land, how disgusting!
    and what connection do european jews have with palestine? they have never known the land!
    what annoys me is that there is always attempts of justifyng israeli action of aggression but never any condemnation. such ignorance or is it arrogance?

  144. p.s. i have not said send them all back but atleast show some respect and dignity, afterall, you do owe them since they were the only ones to offer refuge to the jews and also for stealing their land in return.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s