The descent of Israel

I say why are our memories so short Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment?, the home demolitions in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions/?Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?
rc Ellis, Jewish American theologian

But the fighting is only one aspect of the conflict which is in its essence a political one. And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves. Militarily, it is we who are on the defensive who have the upper hand but in the political sphere they are superior. The land, the villages, the mountains, the roads are in their hands. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down,
David Ben Gurion June 7 1938

Monday morning in Gaza. Between Saturday and Sunday night 100 killed. They include 72 residents of Shejaylya one of the poorest and most densely populated neighbourhoods. Tuesday morn:
571 dead
406 civilians
129 children
and shockingly the Al Aqsa hospital was bombed

One wonders how a superpower like the USA can watch such barbarism unfold on a daily basis and continue to pay for it to the tune of $3 billion a year.

On one hand one can admire the bold hasbara of the Israeli state in selling war and dispossession in such a clever way. Goebbels had a way with with words which obfuscated the truth. The country has long been an army with a flag, a military regime governed by a war cabinet. Their leaders have been generals and former terrorists like Begin and Shamir. They have got much mileage out of their simplistic bromides as “the only democracy in the middle east, a real howler for anybody who has studied their ‘democracy.”

The propaganda machine as Ilan Pappe says, “attempts again and again to narrate its policies as out of context and turns the pretext it found for every new wave of destruction into the main justification for another spree of indiscriminate slaughter in the killing fields of Palestine.”

And the lies are not simply trotted out in Israel. American and Canadian Jewish institutions leap into the breach in every medium possible to neutralize any criticism. Armed with talking points (”Israel has a right to defend itself, being the most egregious) these neo-tribalists act as living megaphones for Israel. All have little or no experience of the suffering of the Other. There is never any context. There is no historical memory, no need to go any deeper. It is intellectual slovenliness.

The brave Amira Hass, the Israeli reporter who lives in Ramallah wrote Monday in Haaretz:

Those who turned Gaza into an internment and punishment camp for 1.8 million human beings should not be surprised that they tunnel underneath the earth. Those who sow strangling, siege and isolation reap rocket fire. Those who have, for 47 years, indiscriminately crossed the Green Line, expropriating land and constantly harming civilians in raids, shootings and settlements – what right do they have to roll their eyes and speak of Palestinian terror against civilians?

One wonders if these mannequins who buy the israeli drumbeat would have condemned the Jews of April 1943 who fought back with grenades against the Wehrmacht in the Warsaw ghetto. Did they have any right to defend their dignity as humans against a brutal occupier? How about the French resistance? And the ultimate question: Have you walked in these shoes. It’s the old gospel question: What is your location? Do you see the world through your comfort in Pharaoh’s court? Are your eyes those of the occupier or the occupied? Does blood and tribe trump solidarity with the oppressed?

As Jeff Halper,a contemporary Israeli hero ( has shown how his country has mastered and sold the art of penning up people and customizing advanced weaponry and surveillance. The killing apparatus or as Pappe calls it the “incremental genocide” is always followed by crocodile tears and an ascent to the moral high ground. Zionism always has desperately wanted to be seen as l’or goyim a light unto the nations. But you can only put lipstick on a pig for so long. In the age of the instant communication, cell phones, international solidarity tours, the truth has slowly seeped out and many of the truth tellers have been Israelis themselves, “Jews of conscience” as theologian Marc Ellis has called them.

Former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg is another truth teller. According to him israel is “Holocaust obsessed, militaristic, xenophobic and, like Germany in the nineteen-thirties, vulnerable to an extremist minority,

This extreme minority as Max Blumenthal and others have pointed out continues to grow, Rann Bar-On an Israeli peace activist and Duke University mathematics lecturer, was part of a peace demo in Haifa.The israeli storm troopers with police looking on attacked the crowd of 300. His comments to Aaron Maté on Democracy Now follow

I believe that what Israel is doing in Gaza is a racist attack. It is not self-defense in any way. And it is a continuation of Israeli policy that has always discriminated against the Arab population. What happened to us at the protest is not new. This is something that is a trend that has been continuing for many years. There has been much incitement from the political class that has allowed even so-called moderate right-wingers to join cries saying, “Death to Arabs! Death to leftists!” and attacking activists and Arabs in the street.<br />

Max Blumenthal in his book Goliath has captured the deep racism in Israeli society. He told Maté:

So the violence that we’re seeing in Gaza is not just related to a particular military strategy; it’s also influenced by the ideology that has captured the hearts and minds of these young men who have learned to demonize the other and see Palestinians and antiwar and human rights elements as absolutely subhuman. It’s playing out unofficially through a vigilante campaign in Israel, but in Gaza what we’re witnessing is the official revenge campaign orchestrated by Netanyahu and the military.




  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Brilliant stuff Ted! Brilliant!
    This is the kind of theology you don’t read about in your average Bishop censored Catholic newspaper. Why? Because it is a pure mix of religion and politics; a refresher into history; a prophetic outlook the church has abandoned, and a real reminder of the gospel imperative to give preferential option to the poor. The Palestinians are such. The lost abandoned sheep of the world.
    You’re a brave and God fearing man Ted! Ignore the total nonsense that a few unravelling nut jobs give you here. Trust me- your writing is inspired! Definitely a canonical book in the New Testament of Schmidt!

  2. 2

    Just brilliant, Ted! Eloquent, so well said! Why didn’t anyone think of that? Because they are not prophets, like you Ted. All they want is profits, comfort, they are completely indifferent to the plight of the poor. Ted, you are brilliant. You should be the Pope’s adviser. You have such insight into these racist Israelis. Just filled with hatred for the Palestinian people: baby haters! All they want to do is bomb kids, kill, kill, kill. Jews are killing machines; bred for hatred, racism, oppression. So brilliant Ted. Forgive me for siding with that cold hearted supporter of the world’s oppressors, 49francesco, he must be a Jew himself. How else explain such hatred and stupidity. Like I said, you should be the Pope’s adviser. I’ll write the reference letter if you apply.

  3. 3
    mushafta Says:

    About time!
    War crimes cited in this morning’s Globe and Mail:

    The UN’s top human rights official has told diplomats that Israel’s military and Hamas militants appear to have violated international humanitarian law and might have committed war crimes during their two-week war in the Gaza Strip.

    In Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that around three-quarters of the 650 Palestinians and 31 Israelis killed in the conflict were civilians, and thousands more have been injured. Pillay told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council that the situation in Gaza requires its urgent attention because of “a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” Pillay says every allegation of human rights abuses “must be properly and independently investigated.”

  4. 4

    Okay, here’s a current piece of Michael Curtis, Middle Eastern political analyst. As you read this, notice the different tone, how he takes in the larger picture. Notice that lack of a frenzied agenda, but an objective look at the facts:

    In an interview on Palestinian TV on July 14, 2014, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, addressed a question to Hamas. “What” he asked “are you trying to achieve by sending rockets (against Israel)? We prefer to fight with wisdom and politics.” Even if his second statement is dubious, his question was answered by Hamas which parenthetically refers to him as a “criminal” and speaks of him, in what must come as a surprise to Benjamin Netanyahu as a “member of Likud.”

    The simple answer of Hamas is that it is trying to kill as many Jews as possible and to eliminate the State of Israel. It proclaims, in a bizarre mixed metaphor, it will “raze Israel to the ground, exterminate the cockroach’s nest, and banish all the Zionists.” It is a call for genocide.

    On any rational view Hamas should be otherwise engaged. In 2005 Israel withdrew all the 21 settlements with their 9,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip, and also all synagogues. The sensible thing would have been the promotion of the Gaza beachfront on the lines of Tel Aviv. Instead, the Strip became the site for housing and then firing rockets. Since Hamas took power in 2007 it has launched more than 5,000 rockets against Israeli civilians. Even the most “evenhanded” observers must find this “disproportionate.”

    The barrage of rockets launched against Israeli civilians in July 2014 must also be regarded as “disproportionate.” A commentary on Hamas aggression has come from an unexpected and improbable source, Ibrahim Khreiseh, PLO Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council. He declared that the Hamas missiles “now being launched against Israel — each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, because it is directed at civilian targets.”

    In spite of the rhetoric and actions of Hamas, many in the “international community” persist in a stance of moral equivalence holding Israel and Hamas equally to blame for the fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu explained the asymmetrical behavior, “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

    Apart from its uncontrollable hatred of Jews, it is difficult to explain the belligerent aggressiveness of Hamas at this point. Many of the countries in the Arab world are in turmoil and cannot approve or support Hamas aggression. Hamas, and indeed all Palestinians, should recognize that their issue of self-determination or statehood is no longer central, even rhetorically, to the Arab agenda.

    The Arab countries are in general preoccupied with their own problems, their local interests — feuding tribal clans, bitter confessional rivalries, and resistance to Islamist fanaticism. More specifically, four of them, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, and Syria, are in a condition of chaos, and can barely be called “states.” The terrorist group Hizb’allah dominates Lebanon. This makes the official government unimportant, and the condition of Christians perilous. The brutal civil war in Syria has led to 200,000 deaths and millions uprooted, causing a refugee problem affecting Lebanon and Jordan.

    By contrast, Israel, though it has its own internal problems, is a stable, modern state. It is now obvious that Israel is the only state established after World War I that is connected historically with a people and with a land.

    Jewish occupation of the land has been traced back to at least the 12th century BC., eighteen centuries earlier than the arrival of Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula. After the end of the Israeli Kingdom, the land was occupied by a number of different rulers but some part of the indigenous Jewish population remained. After World War I the land was transferred from Ottoman Empire to the control of the Allied Powers.

    The map of the Middle East was redrawn, delineating the boundaries of new states, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen. However, the inherent problem since then is that the boundaries did not reflect the demographic and religious reality on the ground.

    The existing Arab states are artificial creations and have little relation to any particular people. Iraq became an independent country in 1932, Syria and Lebanon in 1943, and TransJordan in 1946. They do not resemble modern nation-states. This is not to deny the Arab contribution to world culture in the past, in subjects as well as their control of territory. Arabs were once important in mathematics, medicine, astronomy, and architecture, Cities such as Cordoba, Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo were metropolises of creativity, with relative tolerance of minority groups.

    The decline of the Arab world, apart from the oil-rich states, since then has been difficult to explain in any simple way. Various factors are relevant: economic and social disparities, inferior position of women, high birthrate, displaced peasants, high unemployment, patriarchal culture in deference to elders, poor education, illiteracy, colonial intervention favoring Westernization, and the understated reality that Islam has handicapped any process of modernization.

    Arab history has been a continuing series of brutal dictatorships, undemocratic autocracies, religious persecution, confessional tensions, and wars. The truth, now universally understood, is that the post World War I Arab states have not made a success of nation-building, nor do they have acceptable boundaries. They remain challenged by internal rivalries. The border between Syria and Iraq has not really existed since 2012, nor has the Syrian-Lebanese frontier.

    Three important changes have occurred. The Kurds have reasserted their demand for an independent state, now virtually in existence in northern Iraq. A second is that the Christian presence is being eliminated: in 1914 Christians in the Middle East numbered about 20 per cent; they now account for about 5 per cent. The third, the forerunner of danger to come, is the establishment of an Islamic state.

    That state extends from eastern Syria to western Iraq and aims to expand in the future to include, as a minimum, the areas of Palestine-Israel. The terrorist group ISIS declared the area it controlled, the province of Anbar and Fallouja, a caliphate, to be called State of the Islamic Caliphate, and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed Commander of the Faithful, the leader of all Muslims, the successor to the Prophet. However it is doubtful that his claim will be accepted by other Muslims, especially by the rival terrorist group al Qaida and its affiliates such as AQAP in the Arabian Peninsula. But the new state is now a major center for Islamist jihadists.

    Hamas appears to be unaware of the dramatic changes in the Arab world, and even of the virulent Islamist extremism. The Western world is aware of these developments and is now even more aware of the relentless aggression of Hamas. The Obama Administration should follow the advice of the PLO delegate in Geneva and call for action against Hamas, guilty of criminal behavior.

  5. 5

    Silence! Silence! Silence! Why? Because it does not fit the Schmidt Paradigm:

    Why the silence? It does not fit the Schmidt Paradigm. yes, say it again.

  6. 6
    mushafta Says:

    The Star reports Amnesty International pressing Canada on Israel’s wR crimes:

    OTTAWA—Amnesty International is questioning Canada’s approach to responsibility for civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during the current Israeli-Hamas fighting and is urging Foreign Minister John Baird to press Israel about international standards for the protection of civilians in war zones.

    In a letter to Baird, Amnesty says Israel has every right to defend itself in the conflict that started when militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israeli territory. But Israel’s military response “must be in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights norms which, among other crucial matters, provide for the protection of civilians,” writes Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty’s Canadian branch.

    “It has become tragically and abundantly clear that many aspects of the Israeli aerial campaign and ground offensive violate fundamental international legal standards and that it is overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians in Gaza who are suffering the consequences,” the letter continues.

    Related: John Baird condemns Hamas for rejecting ceasefire

    Baird defends Israel, condemns UN official’s criticism of airstrikes

    Responding to Hamas’ firing of rockets into Israel, Israeli forces engaged in 10 days of aerial bombardment of Gaza and, in recent days, mounted a ground offensive in the coastal enclave with the aim of halting militants’ rocket fire and destroying Hamas’ tunnel network. More than 600 people have died in the fighting and thousands more have been wounded.

    “It is vital that Canada recognize that the actions of Israeli military forces are causing civilian casualties and that violations of international law by Israeli forces must be the subject of an international investigation,” Neve said in the letter to Baird.

    “Canada carries very substantial influence with the Israeli government. Canadian statements of concern about and pressure to end violations of international law by Israeli forces are, therefore, of vital importance,” the letter states.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has said repeatedly that the blame for the current conflict and civilian casualties lies with Hamas.

    “The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there can be no justification,” Guillermo Rishchynski, Canada’s representative to the UN, said in a debate before the Security Council on Tuesday.

    Hamas has “sought to deliberately put civilians, from both sides, in mortal danger. We mourn the resulting death and suffering,” Rishchynski said. Canada is urging Hamas to accept the Gaza ceasefire proposal developed by Egypt.

  7. 7
    mushafta Says:

    Disgusting, Degrading, Sickening!

    “Israel has the right to defend itself!”
    Spokesman for Canadian government after 700 Palestinians dead, 30 odd Israelis.

    Harper in no way represents me!
    Not a single word of admonition on Israel!

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