Polish Bishop Accuses Jews of Exploiting Holocaust
Agence France Presse
A retired Polish bishop accused Jews of exploiting the Holocaust for propaganda purposes in remarks that appeared Monday on a Rome-based traditionalist Roman Catholic website ... "The Holocaust as such is a Jewish invention," said the former spokesman of Poland's Bishops Conference. The Shoah is "used as a propaganda weapon and to obtain advantages that are often unjustified," he charged. Pieronek, who was a friend of the late Polish pope John Paul II, added: "You could speak just as forcefully and establish a day of remembrance for the many victims of communism, persecuted Catholics and Christians and so on." Accusing Jews of "intolerable arrogance," he said they "enjoy good press because they are supported by powerful financial means, enormous power and the unconditional backing of the United States."
World Has `Privilege and Obligation' to Defend Israel, Says Israeli Leader
Israel National News - Arutz Sheva (Israel)
The [Israel] government has dedicated today's meeting to the memory of the six million Jews starved, tortured and massacred in the Holocaust. This Wednesday, the United Nations and at least 20 countries will mark International Holocaust Day. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, said, "I hope the United Nations will remember what happened when the Jews did not have a state - and the privilege and obligation of the international community to defend the Jewish State's existence."
Blair Was Warned That Attack on Iraq Needed UN Go-Ahead
The Independent (Britain)
Tony Blair [then British prime minister] was warned two months before the invasion of Iraq it would be illegal to go to war without United Nations' authority, the inquiry into the conflict heard today ... The inquiry heard how Mr Straw rejected the advice of his senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Sir Michael Wood, that an invasion without a UN Security Council resolution specifically authorising military action would be a "crime of aggression". Sir Michael's deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned in protest on the eve of the invasion in March 2003, described the Government's treatment of the legal advice as "lamentable".
British Legal Decision on 2003 Iraq War Was `Lamentable'
A [British] Foreign Office lawyer who resigned in protest at the Iraq war said the way ministers weighed up the legal case for the invasion was "lamentable". Elizabeth Wilmshurst told the Iraq inquiry she thought the war was unlawful without express UN backing. And she said it was "extraordinary" that Attorney General Lord Goldsmith had only been asked for his opinion days before British troops went in. Ministers argue that existing UN resolutions justified the use of force. The testimony of Ms Wilmshurst and her then boss Sir Michael Wood made it clear that the legal team at the Foreign Office believed that the war was illegal under international law.
Israeli Leader Vows to Keep Zionist Settlements In Occupied Land
The Israeli prime minister has taken part in tree-planting ceremonies in the West Bank while declaring Israel will never leave those areas. Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish settlements blocs would always remain part of the state of Israel. His remarks came hours after a visit by US envoy George Mitchell who is trying to reopen peace talks between Israel and Palestinians.
China Economy Sees Strong Growth
China has said its economy expanded by 8.7 percent in 2009, exceeding even the government's own initial expectations. The pace of change increased as the year went on, with growth in the final quarter of 2009 increasing by 10.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. China is now on course to overtake Japan and become the world's second-biggest economy.
Genetic Heritage Unites Jews, Says Author
Jewish Life Televsion - Video
Jews around the world have a remarkably high level of genetic unity, says Jon Entine in his new book, "Abraham's Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People." He cites up-to-date DNA research to show that what makes the "Chosen People" Jewish is largely a matter of shared ancestry. A JLTV "On the Hour" video report. Runtime: 7:25 mins.
Why They Hate Us? It's Not a Secret
Ron Smith -- The Baltimore Sun
You'll remember that shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush said the motivation of the hijackers was that they hated freedom. Hating freedom seemed then and now to be a pretty weak reason to give up one's own life to inflict death and destruction on others. People who had been paying attention knew what the real reasons for the Islamist radicals' actions were -- Osama bin Laden himself had laid them out in detail. They included America's support of Israel in its subordination of the Palestinians and its attacks on Lebanon; the propping up of pro-American kleptocracies in Muslim lands; and the presence of U.S. forces on the "sacred soil" of Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War.
Accepting Various Truths
No one in the Obama administration is going to acknowledge that our foreign policy in the Middle East has alienated many Arabs. The U.S. pro-Israel policy and our shocking neglect of the beleaguered Palestinians underlie almost every initiative or tactical tilt that comes out of Washington ... The United States spends more for its arsenal than any other 10 countries combined. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. accounts for more than 40 percent of the world's total military spending. China is in second place, at a relatively puny 5.8 percent.
Obama's Alternate Universe
Scott Ritter -- Truthdig
... The "war on terror" has the United States combing the world in search of enemies ... So long as American politicians find themselves constrained by a pro-Israeli lobby that refuses to permit the inclusion of either the concept or reality of Palestine into the lexicon of American foreign policy considerations (beyond simplistic "dual-state" and other demeaning and dishonest formulations)
Debunking of Myths?: Willmott's History of World War II
James V. Koch -- H-Net
.. .. On occasion, Willmott [in his book, The Great Crusade] offers conclusions that undermine his own position, as when he offers the judgment that the Wehrmacht exhibited "a technique, initiative and flair at both tactical and operational levels that enabled German ground formations to outfight consistently superior enemy forces -- at least until 1944," even as he argues that German military excellence is a "pernicious myth." Apparently he discounts the work of Trevor N. DuPuy and others, which suggests that the typical German infantryman was approximately 25 percent more effective than the comparable British or American.
More States on Budget Brink
California is hurtling into the budgetary abyss - and it's not alone. Across the nation, state tax collections in the first three quarters of 2009 posted their steepest decline in at least 46 years, according to a report this month from the public policy research arm of the State University of New York .. .. Like California, Arizona and Illinois face budget gaps above 40% of projected general fund spending, according to Pew data .. .. Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey and New York face gaps of at least 30% of their planned general fund spending by the end of this fiscal year. A dozen more states face a fiscal 2010 budget gap of between 20% and 29%.
California: Too Big Not to Fail?
Jeffrey M. O'Brien -- CNN
.. .. Name almost any serious malady and the state of California has it: the nation's highest marginal tax rate coupled with an abysmal public education system; the most home foreclosures; a free-falling commercial real estate sector; lame-duck governor with no legislative support and a disdain for an annual budget process that he refers to as kabuki theater; unemployment somewhere between the official number of 12% and the whisper number of 18%; a 20% drop in year-over-year revenue; municipalities that have either declared bankruptcy (Vallejo) or are on the verge (Los Angeles); and a black-box permitting process that scares away business investment even while every week, 3,000 more taxpayers migrate to greener pastures.
Is A U.S. Default Inevitable
Patrick J. Buchanan
.. .. Today, there are those warning that the United States, with consecutive deficits running 10 percent of gross domestic product, is risking an eventual default on its national debt .. .. With that share of the U.S. national debt held by individuals, corporations, pension funds and foreign governments having risen in 2009 from 41 percent to 53 percent of GDP, Penner and Walker believe it imperative to get the deficit under control. Unfortunately, it is not possible to see how, politically, this can be done. .. .. What the looming fiscal crisis of this country portends is nothing less than a test of whether this democratic republic is sustainable.
Montgomery vs. Eisenhower: Two Generals at War
The Times (Britain)
... It would be hard to imagine two more contrasting characters. The American general: likeable, diplomatic, balanced and gregarious. The British general: egotistical, prickly, brilliant and caustic. Yet despite their very different personalities, and frequent disagreements, they managed to work together, and won a war together ... There was continual bickering among the top Allied brass. The American generals George Patton and Omar Bradley both detested Montgomery, who responded in kind. Patton on Monty: "That cocky little limey fart"; Monty on Patton: "A foul-mouthed lover of war"; Bradley on Monty: "All-out, right-down-to-
General Patton's Warning
... It was only in the final days of the war and during his tenure as military governor of Germany -- after he had gotten to know both the Germans and America's "gallant Soviet allies" -- that Patton's understanding of the true situation grew and his opinions changed. In his diary and in many letters to his family, friends, various military colleagues, and government officials, he expressed his new understanding and his apprehensions for the future ... In his diary that night he wrote: "There is a very apparent Semitic influence in the press. ... They have utterly lost the Anglo-Saxon conception of justice and feel that a man can be kicked out because somebody else says he is a Nazi."
Rabbinic Text or Call to Terror?
Forward (New York)
The marble-patterned, hardcover book embossed with gold Hebrew letters looks like any other religious commentary you'd find in an Orthodox Judaica bookstore -- but reads like a rabbinic instruction manual outlining acceptable scenarios for killing non-Jewish babies, children and adults. "The prohibition 'Thou Shalt Not Murder'" applies only "to a Jew who kills a Jew," write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are "uncompassionate by nature" and attacks on them "curb their evil inclination," while babies and children of Israel's enemies may be killed since "it is clear that they will grow to harm us."
States Lower School Exit Test Standards
The New York Times
... The situation in Pennsylvania mirrors what has happened in many of the 26 states that have adopted high school exit exams. As deadlines approached for schools to start making passage of the exams a requirement for graduation, and practice tests indicated that large numbers of students would fail, many states softened standards, delayed the requirement or added alternative paths to a diploma ... In 2008, state officials in Alabama, Arizona and Washington delayed the start of the exit exam requirement and lowered standards after seeing that many students, including a disproportionate number of minorities, would fail the tests.
Revisionism for Our Time
Murray N. Rothbard (1966)
... Revisionism teaches us that this entire myth, so prevalent then and even now about Hitler, and about the Japanese, is a tissue of fallacies from beginning to end. Every plank in this nightmare evidence is either completely untrue or not entirely the truth. If people should learn this intellectual fraud about Hitler's Germany, then they will begin to ask questions, and searching questions, about the current World War III version of the same myth. Nothing would stop the current headlong flight to war faster, or more surely cause people to begin to reason about foreign affairs once again, after a long orgy of emotion and cliché.
Jewish Group Condemns Oliver Stone's Remark That Hitler is a Scapegoat
Ynet News (Israel)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center rebuked remarks made by director Oliver Stone during a press conference for his new history documentary. Stone said, "Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply. He's the product of a series of actions. It's cause and effect." The director is using the series to expose what he calls lies and biases behind the conventional interpretation of American history and that would include reexamining WWII history and putting Hitler "into context." "To talk about 'placing Adolf Hitler in context' is like placing cancer in context, instead of recognizing cancer for what it really is - a horrible disease, just as we must recognize Hitler as the ultimate expression of evil," said Rabbi Marvin Hier ...
Popular Music in Germany, 1934-1944
Some Third Reich "hits," by Marika Rökk, Rudi Schuricke, Zarah Leander, Ilse Werner, Heinz Rühmann, Lale Andersen, and others.
In France, New Interest in Churchill, the `Old Lion'
The Times (Britain)
... France has just fallen for the charms of another British leader -- Sir Winston Churchill. "Le Vieux Lion," as the British leader was known, has found new popularity thanks to two bestselling books -- a fresh translation of his Second World War memoirs and a prize-winning biography. Enthusiasm for Churchill is being fed by new interest in the war era among a generation born since France preferred to forget the trauma of the Nazi occupation. Recent war documentaries, including a spectacular colour series on the France2 channel last autumn, have brought the period closer to modern France, said François Kersaudy, author of the new biography Winston Churchill.
Winton Churchill: An Unsettled Legacy
The well-entrenched idealization of Churchill is part and parcel of a drastically misleading view of the Second World War that Americans have been fed for decades. One common deceit is to give the impression that Hitler sought war against Britain and France, and that Germany aggressively attacked those two countries ... Churchill's enduringly stellar image is all the more remarkable considering that his views on a range of issues were, by today's standards, hopelessly backward and politically incorrect ... Along with most Britons (and Americans) of his era, he was also an unabashed racist.
The Real Churchill
... With his lack of principles and scruples, Churchill was involved in one way or another in nearly every disaster that befell the 20th century. He helped destroy laissez-faire liberalism, he played a role in the Crash of 1929, he helped start World War I, and by bringing in America to help, prolonged the war and created the conditions for the rise of Nazism, prolonged World War II, laid the groundwork for Soviet domination, helped involve America in a cold war with Russia, and pioneered in the development of total war and undermining western civilized standards.
Welcome to Orwell's World: Obama's Lies About Afghanistan
John Pilger -- New Statesman (Britain)
... Obama's most audacious lie is that Afghanistan today is a "safe haven" for al-Qaeda's attacks on the west. His own national security adviser, James Jones, said in October that there were "fewer than 100" al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. According to US intelligence, 90 per cent of the Taliban are hardly Taliban at all, but "a tribal localised insurgency [who] see themselves as opposing the US because it is an occupying power". The war is a fraud. Only the terminally gormless remain true to the Obama brand of "world peace" ... Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and the Afghanistan adventures.
Is Anyone Telling Us The Truth?
Paul Craig Roberts
... The U.S. and its puppet state allies were led to war in the Middle East and Afghanistan entirely on the basis of lies and deception. Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did not exist and were known by the U.S. and British governments not to exist ... Now the same thing is happening in regard to the nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program. Forged documents leaked to The Times (London) that indicated Iran was developing a "nuclear trigger" mechanism have been revealed as forgeries. Who benefits? Clearly, attacking Iran is on the Israeli-U.S. agenda, and someone is creating the "evidence" to support the case ...
Why Are They At War With Us?
Patrick J. Buchanan
... To Osama, we started the war. Muslims, the ulema, must fight because America, with her "brutal crusade occupation of the (Arabian) Peninsula" and support for "the Jews' petty state" and "occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there" was waging war upon the Islamic world. Terrorism, the direct killing of civilians for political ends, is al-Qaida's unconventional tactic, but its war aims are quite conventional. Al-Qaida is fighting a religious war against apostates and pagans in their midst, a civil war against collaborators of the Crusaders and an anti-colonial war to drive us out of the Dar al-Islam. On Sept. 11, they were over here -- because we are over there.
Helen Thomas Deviates From the Terrorism Script
Glenn Greenwald -- Salon
... At a White House press conference yesterday with Janet Napolitano and John Brennan, Helen Thomas shows -- yet again -- that she's one of the very few White House reporters willing to deviate from approved orthodoxy scripts. She asks the prohibited question about the motives of Terrorists, and keeps asking as she receives complete non-responses, until they all just decide to ignore her: Brennan's answer -- they do this because they're Evil and murderous -- is on the same condescending cartoon level as the "They-Hate-us-
Jan 28, 2010
Polish Bishop Accuses Jews of Exploiting Holocaust
- On the Lack of Interest in the Goldstone Report
- At Yale, Judge Goldstone faces down his accusers
- Media watchdog asks: Is Ethan Bronner's son in the IDF?
- Testimony to Goldstone: 'What happened at the mill is total destruction'
- Friedman Beat Goldstone to Gaza/Lebanon Comparison
Posted: 28 Jan 2010 07:46 AM PST
Many American Jews who are liberals, supporters of Israel, and generally well informed about events of the day suppress their knowledge of Israel-Palestine to a second-rate level of almost innocence. An inadequacy which (out of pride) they wouldn't allow themselves in approaching any other subject. They do it because they are afraid if they knew more, they would have to condemn much of Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians.
This mentality has a recent historical parallel, in the liberal fellow-travelers of the Soviet Union from the late 1930s through the 1950s. Such people contented themselves with half-knowledge. Their reason was that, if they knew what they might have taken the trouble to know, they would have found themselves thinking and saying things about the Soviet Union that they couldn't bear to think or say.
Posted: 28 Jan 2010 06:48 AM PST
Posted: 28 Jan 2010 06:32 AM PST
The venerable media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting is asking the question many of us are wondering – Does NYT's Top Israel Reporter Have a Son in the IDF?:
FAIR is asking people to ask the New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt to look into whether Bronner has a child in the Israeli military, and, if so, why this is not seen as an unacceptable conflict of interest. Hoyt's email address is public@nytimes.
Posted: 27 Jan 2010 03:35 PM PST
The Al-Bader Flour Mill. The destroyed area in the middle contained the mill's production facility. (Photo: gloucester2gaza)
Ethan Bronner's article on the Israeli response to the Goldstone Report said that Israel hopes to discredit Goldstone's account of the conflict, and especially the contention that Israel purposely attacked Gaza's civilian infrastructure. Bronner referenced the destruction of the Al-Bader flour mill, Gaza's only working flour mill at the time, and shared Israel's version of events:
Bronner inexplicably did not seek out confirmation of Israel's claims, and instead just reported on the Israeli "proof." We have been posting segments from the Goldstone Report, and one of the amazing resources that the United Nations has made available are the actual transcripts of the testimony the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict heard. Here is the testimony regarding the destruction of the Al-Bader flour mill. It was given during a public hearing in Gaza City on June 29, 2009. You can find all the transcripts here.
(Note: The UN makes clear this is an unofficial transcript and is "posted as an information guide to the contents of the Public Hearings.")
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Well, good afternoon. This is – I welcome you back for the afternoon session on this, the second and concluding day of our public hearings in Gaza, and our first witness this afternoon is Mr. Rashad Hamada. I welcome you, Mr. Hamada, and thank you very much for coming to speak to us. I just want to confirm that you are aware that the proceedings are being televised, not only in Gaza but elsewhere in the world and that you have no objection.
Voice of interpreter speaking Arabic
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Thank you very much indeed. If you could tell us your full name and what you do, and then if you can talk to us about the events concerning the Al-Bader Flour Mill,that is owned by you and your brother.
Mr. Rashad Hamada
To begin with, I would like just salute to all the members of this Mission. My name is Rashad Mohammed Abraham Hamada. I am the general director and in charge of all the companies of Rashad Mohammed and Brothers Holdings. My brother and myself are the owners, and we work in the field of food production. We have a factory for tomato canning and another factory for fruit canning, in addition to Al-Bader Flour Mills, these were targeted during the Israeli aggression against Gaza.
In addition, we have a factory for the production of diapers. Our company, in normal days, has about 200 employees, be they engineers, technicians or workers. This is my introduction about myself, as you asked.
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Thank you, Mr. Al-Bader, if you would continue telling us something about the factory, the size, where it's located and what happened during the Operation Cast Lead.
Mr. Rashad Hamada
During the Cast Lead Operation against Gaza, Al-Bader Flour Mill were destroyed. These flourmills of Rashad Hamada and Brothers, we had established in the year 2000. The production capacity is 220 tons daily. To establish this flour mill in the Gaza Strip was originally to make sure there was a provision of flour to all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, especially during times of crisis, especially during the event of 2003, during the incursion into the Gaza, uh –. And at the beginning of the year 2000, we also had very large production, and at the beginning of the siege of Gaza, there were 15,000 tons of wheat and we were able to provide supplies for all the inhabitants of Gaza.
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Wheat, ah, flour.
Mr. Rashad Hamada
The local market, the local market, because the local market needs the full capacity of production of the mill. In addition, in 2005, we also faced some problems at the crossings because of the repeated closures. The mill covered all the needs of the Gaza Strip. This flourmill, and we thank God it is a private flourmill with no political affiliation. It is a purely economic activity.
At the end of last year, in particular, after the fourth of November 2008 the crossing points were closed. Wheat was denied access into the Strip. Fortunately, the flourmill had a reserve. This reserve was about 9,000 tons of wheat. This quantity of flour was the protective shield for the inhabitants of Gaza in order not to force a famine and a shortage of flour in the Gaza Strip.
We continued working with this quantity from the fourth of November until the day of the war, on the 27th of December 2008. One week or ten days before the start of the war, all the other flourmills in Gaza no longer had any wheat, and the concentration of flour for the whole need of the Gaza Strip was only from our factory, from Al-Bader Flour Mill. And we coordinated with the bakeries to distribute wheat only to bakeries, not to houses, not to households, because the flour, when given to the bakeries, every particular quantity or bag of wheat can cover for 20 families, when given to a bakery. However, when the bag itself is sold to a household, then it is only sufficient for one household. And it may not even be able to buy another bag because of political instability and each household may even buy four to keep in reserve.
On the 27th of December the war was waged. We continued working for four or five days. During the war, the mill was working 24 hours a day and we had also been working 24 hours a day one month prior to this date, we were working around the clock. We received a recorded message by telephone on a landline asking us to evacuate the mill. This call came from Israel. That was a Wednesday, the Wednesday after the beginning of the war.
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Did the person say who he was, with who he was calling for, from?
Mr. Rashad Hamada
The person speaking on the phone, I did not hear him personally but I was told by the worker at the factory who had received the phone call that the Israeli Defense Force orders to evacuate the factory.
Chairman Richard Goldstone
Mr. Rashad Hamada
I remember that was on a Wednesday, so it was the 30th or 31st of December 2008. We evacuated the factory of all workers, a total evacuation and waited until the next day. The factory was not hit. We went back to work for 24 hours, another 24 hours. We worked until Saturday or Sunday. So, this was about eight, nine days after the beginning of the war.
We received another message, I do not remember – the workers told me that it was Sunday, maybe, or Monday. We were told to evacuate the factory. The factory was evacuated. I would just like here to give you an idea of what this factory consists of. The factory is a part of several factories that are located in a closed area, a completely closed areas of 45,000 square meters was the surface area. It is surrounded by an external wall that is four meters high of cement, in addition to barbed wire at four meters distance.
The flourmill is located at 6,500 meters from that area. Next to the flourmill, there is also a diapers factory and it has refrigeration for the tomato canning. And there is also a plant for tomatoes – processing of tomatoes. We also have warehouses, commercial warehouses, and there are two houses, a house for my brother and a house for my children. And always there are three guards in this area.
After getting the second warning telling us to evacuate the plant, it was totally evacuated and my children and my brother also evacuated the land area of the flourmill where the houses are. And we have other houses and other factories, other businesses in El Tofah neighborhood in Gaza so we went there, and we left the guards in that area, in the factory land.
On the dawn of the tenth of January, we received a call from the guard telling us that the factory was targeted by air with a missile and that it had caught fire. After 15 minutes, he called us again and told us that there are tanks approaching the area and that the factory was targeted with tank fire. We immediately informed the ICRC and the Civil Defense in order to put out the fire in the mill. At 11:00 a.m., we were told by the Civil Defense that the fire had been put out and that the guard had been evacuated from the surface area of the factory.
Posted: 27 Jan 2010 04:04 PM PST
I'm glad to see that Mondoweiss is posting relevant pieces of the Goldstone Report chunk-by-chunk — bite-sized morsels from the hundreds of pages of documents in the full report. But we didn't need Goldstone to confirm that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strategy in Lebanon was a model for Gaza. That claim was made way back when the fighting was still going on — by a staunch friend and supporter of Israel, no less. But enough from me; res ipsa loquitur. I give you Tom Friedman of the New York Times as the Gaza War raged on January 13, 2009 (my emphasis):
Israel's counterstrategy [in the summer of 2006] was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future. [...] That was the education of Hezbollah. Has Israel seen its last conflict with Hezbollah? I doubt it. But Hezbollah, which has done nothing for Hamas, will think three times next time. That is probably all Israel can achieve with a nonstate actor. In Gaza, I still can't tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to "educate" Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population. If it is out to destroy Hamas, casualties will be horrific and the aftermath could be Somalia-like chaos. If it is out to educate Hamas, Israel may have achieved its aims.
At the time, Friedman was undecided. But a year later it's clear which of his options the IDF went for: To "educate" Hamas, as Friedman grotesquely characterized an assault that saw the destruction of universities and schools. With all the destruction and death of Friedman's "education," it's scary to even think about what an effort to "eradicate" Hamas might have looked like (as Friedman hints).
The column was problematic in so many ways, I don't even know where to start. (Though the piece was a slight improvement over his nonsensical column of the week before, which was skewered brilliantly by Matt Taibbi.) First up was a glaring mistake where Friedman says the dovish Israeli approach of the late '90s led to unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Of course, both are very much under military occupation both outright and by siege, respectively. Another problem was the naivete of his prescription for healing the crisis:
Now [Israel's] focus, and the Obama team's focus, should be on creating a clear choice for Hamas for the world to see: Are you about destroying Israel or building Gaza?
It's obvious now that Israel also had no intention of giving Hamas the opportunity of "building Gaza"; see the siege. But the most mind-numbing aspect of Friedman's column was that he seemed to have bumbled his way into admitting that civilians were targets of the IDF operations in Lebanon and Gaza in an attempt to show them the price tag of supporting non-state resistance groups. Violence against civilians to effect political change is terrorism — and Friedman endorsed this "education" policy."It was not pretty, but it was logical," he wrote of Lebanon, The only one I saw who picked up on that irony was Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). The watchdog put out an Action Alert a day after the op-ed ran, trotting out a similarly callous Friedman quote from 1999:
The "logical" plan, as Friedman explained it, is to punish civilians in the hopes that this will force the political change you prefer. This is precisely the "logic" of terrorists. [...] This pro-terrorism argument has been made before by Friedman, who advocated the same sort of terror against Serbs, writing (4/6/99) that "people tend to change their minds and adjust their goals as they see the price they are paying mount. Twelve days of surgical bombing was never going to turn Serbia around. Let's see what 12 weeks of less than surgical bombing does. Give war a chance."
It's a quote he uses again and again — "Give war a chance." And it keeps winning him Pulitzers and other accolades like being named overwhelmingly Washington's most influential columnist in a poll of "Congressional and political insiders" — representative of the "Beltway bubble." I'm not exactly sure why. I find his mind to be a literary black hole leading to dark and foreboding places, as Friedman himself might say. But since so many people buy into Friedman's stuff, you'd think that when Goldstone makes the same claim — in less strident language — it might gain some traction. But the same Congress that picked Friedman overwhelming denounces Goldstone. Not to mention Israel's response to the Goldstone Report.
This post originally appeared here at LobeLog. Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief.
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New Release: Debating The Holocaust by Thomas Dalton