Melanie Phillips is wrong - her article 4th february 2010.


By steveabbott
February 22, 2010
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Melanie Phillips (February 4th 2010) is as disingenuous as ever when it comes to (as she would see it) defending the Israeli state. It has been documented extensively that Israel played a very prominent role in pushing the US into war with Iraq. Just as it is now playing a prominent role into pushing the US into war with Iran – though on this occasion it is most unlikely to get its way.

Melanie Phillips conflates Islamic aggression with Palestinian resistance. The second is absolutely legitimate, and is the inevitable result of Israeli occupation, and unwillingness to move to a peaceful two state solution. The first has many and varied causes, only one of which is the occupation of Palestine.

Israel has always been the main obstacle to the so called ‘peace process’ since Oslo. By continuing to build illegal settlements on occupied land; by annexing east Jerusalem; by refusing to agree to the 1967 line as the basis for the border;, by refusing to agree to the right of return for ( or compensation of) Palestinian refugees driven from their land in 1948. Of course Bush could have and should have put the screws on Israel – the US has a huge amount of leverage with the Israeli state. Sadly the tail wags the dog, and with a few exceptions, the US has not been prepared to bring its berserker client to heel. The truth is, if the US made a credible threat to withdraw all aid, and diplomatic support, the IDF would be out of the west bank in 6 months; the settlers would have to choose between re-locating to Israel, or living under Palestinian sovereignty.
I am sure that Israel would like to convince us all that the conflict in the occupied territories is between Israel and the Muslim world, because then you can rope Israel’s illegitimate oppression of the Palestinians, to the west’s more general and never ending ‘war on terror’.

Melanie Phillips refers to the ‘morally obnoxious’ concept of negotiation with those who use terrorism to push their agenda. Exactly as morally obnoxious as the pizza parlour example she gives, is the habit of referring to an F16 dropping a 1000lb bomb onto an apartment block, as a ‘military operation’. There is no moral difference between that, and somebody walking into a pizza parlour to explode a bomb. Yet, Palestinians are expected to sit down with Israeli’s, and make compromises that dwarf those likely to be forthcoming from Israel. Truth is, if there is to be peace, both sides need to sit down to negotiate it. One does not need to make peace with one’s friends, but with ones enemies.

The Muslim world is not the reason that the conflict in Palestine has not been resolved. The reason the conflict has not been resolved, is because the Israeli state has consistently failed to make the necessary moves to agree a just and reasonably equitable settlement. In addition, its patron the USA has not felt able, despite its huge power and influence, to encourage its client in the right direction; nor even to play the role of a neutral ‘honest’ broker in the so called peace process.

Sorry Melanie, but there really is no all embracing ‘Islamic threat’ to the world – that is the hugely exaggerated stuff of conspiracy theorists, bankrupt politicians, and inhabitants of the military industrial complex - it only benefits those who engage in terrorism, by making them appear far more potent than they are. As there always have been, and probably always will be, there are political movements who use terrorism to further their political aims. They should be dealt with in a manner compatible with democracy and law – marginalised not encouraged, fought within the law, not outside of the law, and their justifications whether legitimate or not, removed by the application of political, social, and economic justice .

COMMENTS

John Gold

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 23:50

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Special U.S envoy (and ex senator) George Mitchell - can help sort this out, he almost single-handedly (with the help of Blair and Mowlam) gave peace to Ireland (after some 200 years of war).

He was born in Waterville, Maine. His father, George John Mitchell, Sr. (born Joseph Kilroy),[2] was of ethnic Irish descent but was adopted by a Lebanese family since he was orphaned.[3] He was a janitor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where Mitchell was raised. Mitchell's mother, Mary Saad, was a textile worker who emigrated to the United States in 1920 from Bkassine, Lebanon at the age of eighteen. Because of his origin, Mitchell is recognized as a prominent Arab-American.[4]

Mitchell was raised a Maronite Catholic and in his childhood served as an altar boy at St. Joseph's Maronite Church in Maine.[2][5] Throughout junior high school and high school, Mitchell worked as a janitor.[6]

If anyone can clean up this mess he can :-)
This is a staff announcement can the Janitor please go to aisle number middle east...


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 10:36

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Boy, do us Jews love Catholics! I recently read that the Office of the Inquisition (remember Spain, 1492, burning at the stake?) is still an official Catholic office.

If there hadn't been 2,000 years of European Catholicism, the average German would have laughed h*itler off the stage at the onset.

Herzl records in his Diary that when he met the Pope and requested his support for a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, the Pope replied in Latin: Non Possumo - impossible! Because the Wandering Jew is a basic tennet of Christianity, and a return of the Jews to their land would negate this.

Thus in 1964 the Vatican was forced to issue the Schema which stated that Jews alive today are not responsible for the death of Jesus. They HAD TO make this statement, to protect the Wandering Jew theory.

If you Google on:
+vatican +schema +1964

- you'll find a nice Wikipedia article which says:
"One of the more controversial documents was Nostra Aetate, which stated that the Jews of the time of Christ, taken indiscriminately, and all Jews today are no more responsible for the death of Christ than Christians."


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 11:44

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Steveabbott:

"Israel has always been the main obstacle to the so called ‘peace process’ since Oslo. By continuing to build illegal settlements on occupied land; by annexing east Jerusalem; by refusing to agree to the 1967 line as the basis for the border;, by refusing to agree to the right of return for ( or compensation of) Palestinian refugees driven from their land in 1948."

1. Considering the fact that powerful Israel signed the Oslo agreement with a very weak body of Arabs, including failing (and AIDS-ridden) Arafat, it is totally unclear why Israel should be called an 'obstacle'. Its intentions were stupid, but honest.

2. The Partition Plan as proposed by the British gave Trans-Jordan to the Arabs. The Western Bank was intended for Israel, and was in fact conquered by force by the Jordians in 1948. An unbiased historian would see the Jordanian occupation of the Western Bank as no more legal or binding than the subsequent Israeli occupation in 1967. You are not an unbiased historian.

3. In 1967, with no prior provocation by Israel, Egypt Syria and Jordan attacked Israel.

They all lost.

Why should a country attacked by enemies return land captured in war?

Show me examples in history when such a move was made voluntarily.

Egypt made peace with Israel and got Sinai back. It DIDN'T WANT Gaza back, so what is your problem here?

Jordan made peace with Israel WITHOUT receiving back the Old City of Jerusalem that it had occupied, and without the Western Bank, which it DIDN'T WANT because of its inhabitants. so what is your problem here?

Syria has NEVER repented, just insists it wants back the land it lost. Why should it get back land it lost by attacking Israel, when it offers no peace?
Show me examples in history when such a move was made voluntarily.

There is no such thing as a Palestinian - although there once was a Palestine. Gaza residents are ex-Egyptian, Western Bank residents are ex-Jordanian.
Palestinian? Nada.


Yvetta

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 12:17

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Melanie Phillips might cry wolf a tad too frequently, but she's perspicacious and basically correct in her analyses.
Her most recent one, drawing attention to Col. Kemp's speech re the IDF, should warm the cockles of every "Zionist" heart!


John Gold

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 12:25

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Yvetta.

Just thought I'd warn you 'Cockles' are not Kosher :-)


John Gold

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 13:05

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Yvetta.

Regarding 'Melanie Phillips' comments she is Jewish so there is going to be an obvious bias there.

Regarding 'Col. Kemp's' speech on the IDF on the surface it all sounds good and commendable, dropping leaflets, calling people 4 hours before dropping white-sulphur and bombs etc.

Yet in spite of this - "1,324 Palestinians were killed, among them were 412 children " (and i'm sure many hundreds were severely injured).
With this level of forewarning etc, how do such an enormous amount of people die? It doesn't make sense? (if it had been done as said, at best a hundred or so would have got caught in the crossfire).

Also if they told people to get out of a region, by leaflets and phone calls (as is claimed), presumably Hamas would get that same message too (by word of mouth) and move also - rendering the process meaningless?

The bottom line is I think, that using conventional war machinery outside of a battle field, is going to have severe consequences on a population.


John Gold

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 13:22

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Avraham.

I largely agree with your history of Israel and Palestine, and think that Israel has had a lot of bad press, when defending themselves against aggressive forces (although they didn't help themselves by sending terrorists over to blow up an American embassy in Egypt).

However it saddens me that they could push through a peace deal so that both Israeli's and Palestinians (and arabs) could live in relative peace - and get on with their lives and build their countries up.
Until that is done Israel will justifiably get all the flack -as they are in the driving seat, and also building on land that was marked out by the 'united nations' as Palestinian.

This stand off we're seeing is not doing anyone any good, it needs to be resolved.
Like two children grabbing onto the same item and not wanting to let go, an adult (mediator) needs to get in the middle and split them up and make them see reason.

Regarding 'George Mitchell' - he did a great job in Ireland, you shouldn't hold it against him because of his religion (or upbringing) - mother Theresa was probably a nazi according to you.

And for the record you may be aware that the large majority of the senate in USA, that supports Israel - are Catholics (twice as many as follow Judaism), so they're not all bad.


steveabbott

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 14:30

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Avraham Reiss 23 feb 10.

You said ‘Considering the fact that powerful Israel signed the Oslo agreement with a very weak body of Arabs, including failing (and AIDS-ridden) Arafat, it is totally unclear why Israel should be called an 'obstacle'. Its intentions were stupid, but honest’.
Israel wanted a Bantustan type arrangement for the Palestinians – it was not agreeing to a proper independent viable and contiguous state of Palestine. Even a weak Arafat would not go for that. Even Barak said – and I paraphrase but you can check the quote ‘if I were a Palestinian I would not have accepted it either’.
It is an undisputable fact that 22% of British mandate Palestine was to be a state for Palestinians – those Arabs who lived there! it does not matter whether you can them Egyptians or Jordanians, or Martians. They lived in Palestine, and if they call themselves Palestinians that is that. I would not call Israeli’s who live in Israel ‘New Yorkers’, or ‘Russians’.
The reason why it is right to return territory captured in war is because 1: it is illegal under international law to keep it (Geneva conventions), 2: you can have no title to it because it was captured in war, and again for that reason you cannot colonise it with settlers. 3: if you give back the territory you can have peace – if you don’t, you can’t. The example you quote of Egypt is instructive- you gave back Sinai – you got a peace treaty and took the largest army on your borders out of the equation. Again, if you negotiated back the Golan, Israel would have a peace treaty with Syria, and would probably severely curtail that country’s support for Hezbollah (your only effective adversary at present).
Anyway – we can discuss the history of the Middle East forever. Your problem is (if you’re an Israeli) – what are you going to do? Are you going to obtain your greater Israel by transfer of the Arab population out of the west back into Jordan, and Gaza into Egypt. Are you going to impose an apartheid state in greater Israel by formalising your occupation of the west bank and Gaza, and continuing the denial of Palestinian rights within that state? Are you going to muddle on like you are, with the cancer of occupation and war brutalising and eating away at you, waiting for the demographics to solve the problem? Or, are you going to take a chance on a deal, get back the global goodwill you once enjoyed, maybe become a member of the EU, still be the middle east superpower, potentially be at the heart of a democratic, and economic renaissance in the middle east – the shining city on the hill that the US used to be?


Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 14:47

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I gave up at the word 'conflates' in line 6 - use of this word is a sure sign of an Israel-basher


gold.sarah

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 14:52

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Steveabbott - well said. Great words.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 14:55

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The one-eyed Israel megaphones also adopt the standard jejune paranoid mantra of people who do Israel such a disservice by calibrating even the mildest criticism of Israeli behaviour as anti-Semitic.
It is just plain childish vituperative rubbish and immediately raises the question among Jews as to whether it will ever be possible to enter into meaningful discussion with Israel about anything at all.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 14:56

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Conflating anti-Israel and anti-Semitism is what the one-eyed Israel supporter does when he or she wants to spread fear and hatred to further their extreme right-wing agenda. People have got wise to this discredited tactic, however.


Yvetta

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 15:04

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"The one-eyed Israel megaphones" - bit of a mixed metaphor here, Moshe!


steveabbott

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 15:06

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John Gold 23 feb 10.

You are so right to be concerned at the behaviour of the IDF during the cast lead ‘operation’. Is it not interesting when people in uniform, with tanks, artillery, and all the paraphernalia of modern war indiscriminately kill civilians it’s called an ‘operation’ and given a name. If I walk into a pizza parlour with a bomb and blow myself up, it’s called terrorism?

The reason so many civilians (inc children) died during the massacre was because the IDF infantry would not engage Hamas fighters in the built up areas. For the same reason, that is why the IDF casualties were almost non existent. The preferred tactics were to bombard at long range (and at no risk to the bombardiers). And what do you bombard? Fields or cities, towns and villages? You attack the built up areas cos that is where the people are. Yes you can say you are targeting Hamas and not the civilian population, but that distinction is meaningless, and that is what makes it a war crime. Failure to distinguish between civilian and military when carrying out military ‘operations’.

There were very good (from the Israeli governments point of view) reasons why these tactics were employed. Some I would focus on - 1: To terrorise the population of Gaza, and hope that they found Israel more scary than Hamas, and would therefore somehow ‘get rid of’ Hamas. 2: Because the last time the IDF employed its infantry in Lebanon, it got a proper hiding. It’s quite different when your opponent is properly prepared and dug in, and equipped with modern and heavy weapons, rather than just Kalashnikovs and RPG’s which the IDF prefers its enemies to be equipped with.

We have to stop referring to cast lead as a war. Wars involve two armies fighting. Where was the Hamas armour, airforce, heavy artillery??? It’s just nonsense. It was a long range turkey shoot, and most of the turkeys were civilians. Its just Israel beating up on some Arabs – and it does not look good.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 15:06

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It's a terribly mixed metaphor, Yvetta. Still and all, they have adopted the standard jejune paranoid mantra of people who do Israel such a disservice by calibrating even the mildest criticism of Israeli behaviour as anti-Semitic.
It is just plain childish vituperative rubbish and immediately raises the question among Jews as to whether it will ever be possible to enter into meaningful discussion with Israel about anything at all.


Yvetta

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 15:10

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I do wish Israel would give the Palestinian moderates some hope - they've given Abbas zilch, it seems; surely the best hope of peace is winning over the hearts and minds of moderates in the Palestinian camp, in order to isolate the extremists and arrive at a modus vivendi.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:08

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Yvetta:
"I do wish Israel would give the Palestinian moderates some hope - they've given Abbas zilch, it seems; surely the best hope of peace is winning over the hearts and minds of moderates in the Palestinian camp, in order to isolate the extremists and arrive at a modus vivendi."

I'd just LOVE to know where you buy your mushrooms!

"Moderates" will "isolate the extremists"? Hamas isolated?

Lady, your virtual reality just does not exist.

My limited knowledge of and acquaintance with Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, is from four spells of military service in all of those areas during one of the Intifadas, during which time I entered into conversations with local Arabs whenever opportunity presented itself.

The average local Arab wants to support his family and get on with his life. Seeing the standard of life in Israel, they want more for themselves, which is totally natural. On night patrols I've seen men get up at 3:30am to walk maybe 45 minutes to the nearest bus-stop, in order to get to central Israel early in the morning, to earn a living and bring home the ... er .. bread. When they get home at night, they don't have the strength to lift the smallest stone.

But they wouldn't dare oppose the terrorist elemnts of their society. I've seen film of a man being shot in the legs in the street, and subsequently being interviewed as a now-paralyzed cripple. That is what happens to the 'opposition' to the terrorist faction, small as it is. Anthony Soprano would love these guys!

Yvetta, your sentence quoted above is totally divorced from any reality on the ground.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:12

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The censor is at it again! I just posted the fact that moshezarfat2's phrase "jejune paranoid mantra" was copied from elsewhere - Google it to see where - and the comment was deleted.
It's about time for action.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:15

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Who's to say that Ozymandias and I aren't the same, "Avraham"? Hawkeye isn't the only person using aliases or pseudonyms. Still, I'm not the one blaming Shas (and by extension all Sephardim) for Oslo but then welcome them with open arms when they support far right governments. Nor am I the one confusing Mapam with Mapai.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:22

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"Nor am I the one confusing Mapam with Mapai"

You keep on with this crap!
Achdut HaAvodah left Mapai in 1944. Go ask someone who can use Google, for want of more intellectual sources.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:25

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ROFLMAO, "Avraham". It was you who confused Mapam with Mapai when you erroneously stated that Yitzhak Rabin (hashem yikom damo) was a Mapam member.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:29

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John Gold:
"shouldn't hold it against him because of his religion (or upbringing) - mother Theresa was probably a nazi according to you."

- that last comment says a lot about you.

As for anyone's religion, it often serves as his main motivation. Ireland is a perfect example: a 300-year war over religion (and I thought Catholics turned the other cheek ...)

I admit openly that religion is my main motivation in life.

"And for the record you may be aware that the large majority of the senate in USA, that supports Israel - are Catholics (twice as many as follow Judaism), so they're not all bad."

A lot of them do so to get all the Jews concentrated in one place, to make latter-day conversion easier ...
we'll go with them for part of the ride, but towards the end either us or them will be jumping off the waggon.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 16:35

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"ROFLMAO, "Avraham". It was you who confused Mapam with Mapai when you erroneously stated that Yitzhak Rabin (hashem yikom damo) was a Mapam member."

Rhubarb! I said his origins were in Achdut Haavodah, which became part of Mapam. He later moved to Mapai. Ditto, Yigal Alon and others.

====
AHDUT HA-AVODAH
An Israeli socialist party founded in 1919 by veterans of the Jewish Legion and other Palestine pioneers.

... In 1930, it joined with others in founding the MAPAI party. Becoming independent from that party in 1944, Ahdut haAvodah joined with ha-Shomer ha-Tzaʿir, a Zionist socialist youth movement, to found the more radical left-wing MAPAM in 1948. It split with MAPAM in 1954, formed an alignment with MAPAI in 1965, and in 1968 merged again with MAPAI and the Rafi Party to form the Israeli Labor Party.


Yvetta

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:20

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Avraham: "I'd just LOVE to know where you buy your mushrooms!"

OK, OK. I get the point! I was merely echoing 'im at 'ome - he's more dovish than I am, you see!


John Gold

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:30

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Avraham.

Well was Mother Theresa a Nazi? As you seem to confer that all Catholics are?

Regarding Northern Ireland, read my reply in gold.sarah's blog referring to the history there - it has very little to do with religion and more to do with an alien nation (two countries to be precise) invading that land and the subsequent things that happened - they just happened to be at other ends of the christian spectrum.

Regarding the USA senate in fact about 70% are christian and support Israel - is the motive pure? Are motives in politics ever pure?

It sounds like you and Christians agree that the Jewish people were to go back to their home, and have a right to be safe - well lets celebrate the things in common not the differences.
You obviously wear a cynical pair of shades - if it or someone is positive towards you and your country take it at face value for what it is.

As there is no other country in the world that follows Judaism as it's main religion, other than Israel - then it makes sense to work and co-operate with people of different religions?

Regarding the original comment that led us down this path, I don't think the middle east envoy 'Michael Williams' faith would interfere with the job at hand. In clearing up the Northern Ireland mess he didn't side with the Catholics for example.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:30

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Fair enough ...


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:31

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My previous comment "Fair enough" was a reply to Yvetta.


John Gold

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:43

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Avraham, I didn't think your comment related to my ramblings "Fair enough...", after all you're a soldier and like a good (verbal) fight ;-)


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 17:51

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John:
"after all you're a soldier and like a good (verbal) fight ;-)"

I am no longer a soldier (but younger members of my family are in the thick of it), and I don't particularly enjoy a good verbal fight. The point is that Christians like yourself must be brought to realise that there's a new guy on the block - the Israeli. After Auschwitz, we learned to rely only upon ourselves. (And we possibly won't mind borrowing your passport in order to do so).

Not much you can do about it, par jottings in Jewish blogs ...


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 18:16

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Ah, "Avraham", resorting to using the dreaded word Auschwitz as a way of explaining and excusing everything, are we? And Rabin's roots were never in Mapam.

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