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View Diary: Israel commits Mass Murder and Obama Silent again (145 comments)

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  •  My Israeli coworker... (13+ / 0-)

    My Israeli coworker is asking why Obama isn't saying/doing anything to stop Gaza's attacks on Israel.

    My gut feeling is that if you and my Israeli coworker BOTH think Obama isn't doing enough to help your respective sides, he is probably doing the right thing.

    And to quote another Israeli friend of mine who now lives in Tel Aviv:

    since yesterday, we're all "in range" with some rockets falling in the Tel-Aviv area. I'm guessing we're about to kick their asses now, which will again make all the militant people here happy but will not really solve anything
    I can't blame Israel for firing back. And Israel WILL kick ass in Gaza, which means this is a losing strategy for Gaza, period. However, I don't see Israel as gaining anything either. All this does is continue the dominance of both sides by crazy idiot extremists. Both sides need effective leaders to get anything solved...but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:19:55 AM PST

    •  Israel wins (8+ / 0-)

      by not having to abide by a peace agreement.  Since Israel has everything and Palestine has nothing, Israel can gain nothing by making peace, so they have no incentive to do so.    

      It's been a hundred years, isn't it time we stopped blaming Captain Smith for sinking the Titanic?

      by happymisanthropy on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:09:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that is far from right (3+ / 0-)

        That is certainly NOT how the Israelis I know think about it. It MAY well be how Likud things but that is NOT Israel as a whole. Of course Hamas also seems to have no interest in peace and prefers fighting. But I don't assume that is how most Palestinians think even in Gaza.

        Believe me, the Israelis who are under constant rocket fire right now would prefer peace. The cost of all of this to Israel's economy and the psychological well being of those under fire is huge. Israel has a LOT of incentive for peace...just not any effective leadership that represents that majority view. Same seems to be true of the Palestinians.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 11:48:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking of Likud (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mole333, mahakali overdrive

          Part of the problem here is that Israel is a Parliamentary democracy.

          I feel like this would all have been settled a long time ago if there were more checks and balances built into Israel's democratic apparatus.

          If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
          If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
          If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

          by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 12:56:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Gutin Daf

            I have heard so many people in the US say how we would be better off with a parliamentary system. You are the second person in a week, in different contexts, criticizing parliamentary systems. The other person is from India and blames apathy of the young in India on the parliamentary system that allows so many minor parties to have a say. I have never really thought of it that way.

            What a vast majority of people in and out of Israel would love to see is the religious groups in Israel losing power. I am thrilled their exclusion from serving in the military is being lifted. Most Israelis I know detest the religious Jewish communities as parasites. In that sense you are absolutely right: the parliamentary system allows the religious right in Israel way too much power. Is the loss of their exclusion from military service a sign that their grip is loosening? Will that help I wonder?

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 02:21:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  As I pointed out earlier in another comment (3+ / 0-)

          and maybe another diary, over seventy percent of BOTH Palestinians AND Israelis want an end to the fighting and a implementation of the 2-state solution, from a large study done by the US in 2009, republished by the NYT.

          Right now, that's no different and maybe even higher numbers.

          I'd like to see more moderate elements in control of both sides.

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
          It MAY well be how Likud things but that is NOT Israel as a whole.
          Bibi's coalition has a majority, and ever indication is that it will grow as a result of the January elections.
          •  Hence... (0+ / 0-)

            Hence my comments on the leadership vacuum in both Gaza and Israel. Hamas with all their extremist pro-violence insanity which is at least as bad as Netanyahu's/Likud's extremist pro-violence insanity ALSO has a majority. Yet in both cases the extremists get support mainly because the more reasonable parties lack good leadership so are weak and/or corrupt. In both Gaza and Israel the vast majority support peace yet are run by war-mongering fanatics. Why? Because no other party on either side seems to be effective.

            And yes, Netanyahu's hold will probably grow. For which we can thank Hamas' rocket attacks as much as we can thank the weakness of the Israeli opposition. Hamas and Netanyahu need eachother it seems.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:42:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Israel has no leadership vacuum. (0+ / 0-)

              In fact, Israel has pretty damn effective leadership -- moreover, a leadership that's largely congruent with the wishes of the Israeli majority.

              •  Wow, you are out of touch (0+ / 0-)

                Likud is a single party. And not a very popular one overall, which is why it split in two not too long ago.

                And the leadership vacuum within Labor and Kadima has been widely discussed for years with no real progress in either party. THat leaves only the relatively unpopular Netanyahu and the opposition in disarray. You might want to become better informed about Israeli politics before you make proclamations about it.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:41:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wow, *you* are out of touch. (0+ / 0-)

                  First of all, Labor hardly exists any more.  (Meretz isn't even the sound of one hand clapping.)  Kadima is still trying to figure out why it exists, since its separation from Likud had little to do with actual policies and everything to do with personality.

                  As for Likud, you may want to note that although it "split in two not too long ago," it just merged with Evet's party.

                  One more time: The only man in Israel Bibi fears is Evet, who will be the next PM.  Whether come January or after another Bibi term (my more likely scenario) is all that matters.

                  The Israeli Right is doing just fine.  How could it not?  There's no longer an Israeli Left to speak of (something Israel has in common with just about every Western state, of course).

                  •  Funny (0+ / 0-)

                    You are arguing my exact point. As I said REPEATEDLY the opposition in Israel is in disarray. There is no sane leadership option because the opposition is weak and/or corrupt, as I said repeatedly. That leaves the right wing extremists as the only effective option.

                    And you foam at the mouth to argue with me and your basis for disagreeing? Apparently you disagree with me because the main opposition either barely exists or can't figure out why it exists...which was my exact point.

                    So why are you disagreeing with me? It is a fact that a large majority of Israelis (and Palestinians) support Peace. It is a fact that both Israel and Gaza are run by war mongering idiots. Why? As I have repeatedly said it is because both Israel and the Palestinians have no viable sane leadership at the moment and from what I can tell none developing. You may want to claim all of Israel wants war but that is not factually correct.

                    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                    by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:53:53 AM PST

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                    •  As far as I can tell (0+ / 0-)

                      Bibi is quite sane.  (I don't understand Hamas well enough to render judgment there.)  And that is precisely the tragedy: that his "insanity," just like Sharon's before him, is actually a manifestation of quite cunning calculation.

                      Whereby the only question is whether Bibi can hold off Evet.  Without a ground war he might find that difficult, since it doesn't seem likely that anything less will make the Israeli majority happy (assuming, of course, that Hamas doesn't miraculously surrender or commit mass suicide).

                      Insanity is an out -- an exculpation.  Stop giving Bibi outs.  

                      •  I was almost with you there... (0+ / 0-)

                        You were making sense there (not sure I 100% agree but mostly) up until your last sentence which is dumb. I never gave Netanyahu an out. I was calling him a war monger, extremist and (his policies though I admit that was just implied) insane. He is a disaster.

                        The rest of what you say fits and the comparison with Sharon is apt. I just wish the Palestinians would stop falling into the traps set by the likes of Sharon and Netanyahu. The current situation is less clear cut but had the Palestinians just laughed at Sharon and called him a coward for requiring an escort at a tourist site in what he claims as his own country, Sharon would never have won the election. Instead they gave him exactly what he needed.

                        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                        by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:52:58 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I suppose it's all nice (0+ / 0-)

                          to sit in a comfy chair at the computer and expect Palestinians to behave with sovereign composure every time someone like Arik or Bibi baits them (I will call this "Why can't they behave more like Iranians when we shoot down their passenger aircraft, arm the MEQ, and murder their scientists?"), but traumatized and, quite frankly, justifiably hopeless people sometimes take the bait.  Especially if you're Hamas, it seems; Abbas gets paid good money to be Israel's puppet and so behaves much better, except when he starts talking about the UN, which I suspect he does mostly in a (probably vain) effort to lift the lid of the steaming kettle underneath him a bit.  But I imagine Israel will "take care" of the Abbas "problem" soon enough.

                          •  Doesn't change the fact... (0+ / 0-)

                            Doesn't change the fact that Sharon and Netanyahu would have had little chance of success without the Palestinian violence that they themselves worked hard to elicit. Likud and Hamas have a nice racket going keeping eachother in power. I don't think either would be anywhere near as strong without the other or the equivalent.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:25:25 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and as I alluded to earlier (0+ / 0-)

                            Abbas's reward for not playing in that racket has been, to date, bupkis.  Except, I suppose, in terms of his Swiss bank accounts.

                          •  True (0+ / 0-)

                            Which I also have alluded to (though I simply referred to the West Bank and I think it was in response to someone else). It also is what I was referring to when I said BOTH Israel AND the Palestinians have a leadership vacuum on the side of sane policy (early I merely said "sanity"). Again, Hamas and Likud have their racket going, it is unpopular on both sides, but the alternatives on both sides are weak and/or corrupt so the racket continues. Again, what is needed is Israel and/or (preferably and) Palestine to develop effective leadership in opposition to Likud and Hamas, respectively.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:34:23 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  And you say Bibi is "relatively unpopular"? (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Quoting yourself (0+ / 0-)

                    means nothing.

                    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                    by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:55:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You could counter the argument (0+ / 0-)

                      except, of course, that you can't.

                      •  You didn't make an argument (0+ / 0-)

                        You made a proclamation pulled out of your ass, not any real argument. However...

                        Back in August 60% of Israelis polled disapproved of Netanyahu according to a Dialog and Tel Aviv University poll. Since he took office in 2009 his poll ratings have never been much above 50% and have usually been below. And this is WITHOUT any viable opposition, which was my point in the first place, which you argued against by arguing for. This will OF COURSE go up thanks to Hamas, another point I made earlier.

                        If there was viable opposition, his numbers would be even lower.

                        Sorry this doesn't fit your caricature supported by your own quote, but it is actual data rather than just your seemingly uninformed opinion.

                        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                        by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:43:10 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  umm, 40%-50% (0+ / 0-)

                          is plenty approval for the Numero Uno position in a coalition government.  Perhaps you're just unaware of how parliamentary coalitions work.

                          There remains only the question of whether Israel lacks a viable opposition because opposition leadership is of such poor quality, or whether it's because there's so little opposition anyway.  Certainly in terms of I/P there's no opposition to speak of; all of the major parties, including Labor, are pretty united on the matter, and only Meretz (and for the first time in a generation at that!) is opposed to the latest war.  In terms of social policy Labor is hardly a shadow of its former self, as is true of left parties worldwide.  (Probably no coincidence that it dropped its Socialist International membership.)  

                          So once again, it all boils down to: How much of Bibi's opposition opposes him because he isn't tough enough?

                          •  Sheesh (0+ / 0-)

                            My claim: Netanyahu is relatively unpopular and not representative of the majority of Israelis (60% of Israelis disapprove of Netanyahu's job (as of last Aug) and 75% of Israelis supported peace the very year Netanyahu was elected in 2009)

                            Your claim: He has a majority in're just unaware of how parliamentary coalitions work

                            Yet still, a majority of Israelis disagree with Netanyahu and have from the moment he took office. He is NOT representative of Israel as a whole (my original point) particularly regarding peace with Palestinians.

                            You can discuss what constitutes an "event" and parliamentary systems, but yet your position is not supported by the facts.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:08:30 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  umm, Bibi heads a coalition (0+ / 0-)

                            which has a Knesset majority.  Apologies if I didn't express myself clearly enough.

                            Now as far as that 75% peace-loving Israeli majority is concerned, we all know how easily Israelis change their minds the minute there's a nice war to be fought.  They're kind of like Americans that way.  I also imagine that if you asked Israelis what they meant by "peace," I'm sure that many of them will trot out the usual laundry list of concessions that Palestinians still find categorically unacceptable.  "Peace," as it turns out, often means "victory, and on our terms."

                          •  My claim (0+ / 0-)

                            My claim was that Netanyahu was relatively unpopular and not representative of the Israeli people in general particularly about peace. The fact that he has a majority within a rather convoluted government structure does not change the fact that most Israelis disagree with him.

                            And most polls for more than a decade show Israeli popular support for peace, though I did quote it at a high but that was largely because I wanted to highlight the year Netanyahu was elected.

                            There is a disconnect between the Israeli government and the Israeli people. That would lead to the collapse of the current government if and only if there was a viable alternative, which there is not. That was my original point and as far as I can tell nothing you have said changes that. Was I unclear? If so perhaps the fault is mine that we are disagreeing. But the facts point to exactly what I am saying.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:30:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Define "peace." Be specific. (0+ / 0-)

                            This isn't a terribly recent poll, but as far as the status of Jerusalem is concerned, it isn't promising.  I doubt Israeli attitudes have softened since then.

                            Surely you will agree that some compromise on the "right of return" is not in the cards, nor would be the matter of allowing any Palestine control over its airspace, let alone its own armed forces.

                            Peace is a lovely word, but there's an army of devils in the details.

                          •  I would assume... (0+ / 0-)

                            I would assume the status of Jerusalem is an equally hard stand on the Palestinian side. So shall we throw out their support of peace as well and say Hamas is representative of all Palestinians? Is your stand to equate Israel as Likud and Palestine as Hamas? That was what I was arguing against in the first place.

                            Peace does not mean just what the Palestinians want...or just what the Israelis want. Nor is my definition of peace valid when it is Palestinians and Israelis who need to work that out. Are you suggesting neither side will compromise?

                            Well, probably neither side WILL compromise as long as Hamas and Likud are in power and no strong opposition exists. But again, I am willing to bet a majority of Israelis and a majority of Palestinians are willing to see compromise but I have not seen stats on that. In this case that is just my opinion.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:10:42 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                            So shall we throw out their support of peace as well and say Hamas is representative of all Palestinians? Is your stand to equate Israel as Likud and Palestine as Hamas?
                            Umm, no, I don't see how that follows from what I said.  Any Palestinian's insistence on a piece of Jerusalem doesn't automatically make him Hamas.
                            Are you suggesting neither side will compromise?
                            Not quite.  What I'm suggesting is that Israel's willingness to compromise is severely limited (and why shouldn't it be? She regards herself as the victorious party!) and that there's no degree of compromising on Palestine's part, short of near-unconditional-surrender terms, that will satisfy Israel.

                            You keep on harping on "Hamas and Likud."  But you stubbornly ignore that the PA's much more obliging stance receives no Israeli response whatsoever, and that there's trivial difference between Likud and what's left of Labor, to say nothing of Kadima, when it comes to dictating terms to the Palestinians.

                          •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                            Again, you seem to be using many of my exact points to disagree with those same points.

                            Any Palestinian's insistence on a piece of Jerusalem doesn't automatically make him Hamas.
                            Same goes with Israelis vis a vis Likud. Again, I have been arguing AGAINST these exact equivalences from the beginning and my point is Likud does NOT represent your average Israeli any more than Hamas represents the average Palestinian. Which is what you seem to be arguing at least vis a bis Palestinians and Hamas. I harp on these because that was my point from the start.

                            You then go on to cite the Israeli governments stand regarding compromise when I continue to differentiate between the government's stand and the popular stand since that was my initial point. My calling the Likud stand "insane" and war mongering implies I don't think they will compromise whatever the average Israeli thinks. You seem to be arguing against my point using the exact point I am making.

                            You say I ignore the West Bank and yet I have specifically agreed with you on that exact point.

                            Regarding Likud vs the opposition, again, my point has always been that Israel (and Palestine) LACKS a viable opposition to its extremist government.

                            My positions have not shifted yet you now seem (from what I can tell) to be agreeing with almost everything I have been trying to say that seemed to elicit such disagreement from you.

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:48:42 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, we'll just have to wait and see (0+ / 0-)

                            how Israelis vote come January, won't we?  

                            In any case, you should really quit blaming Israel's continued rightward tilt on the absence of effective left-wing politicians.  Effective left-wing politicans would hardly make a difference on I/P (although they might in several Bibinomics-related matters).  The demographic shifts in Israel make that rightward tilt inexorable; surely you know that.  

                            Ultimately you're right that one shouldn't use "Likud" as shorthand for Israel's Palestinian policy -- but only because, with time, that policy might be better shorthanded as Shas.

                          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't see January as significant because a.) the left STILL has no leadership and probably won't for some time to come, and b.) Hamas has handed Netanyahu exactly what he wanted by upping the rocket attacks.

                            The vast majority of Israelis I know are left leaning (though you are right, when the rockets fly they waver) and detest the likes of Shas. Representative sampling? No. But also not a tiny sampling. But I think the fact that the lean to the right is not inevitable is that a left wing plank that has long been blocked by the right, removing exemption of the religious extremists from military service, has been shot down. I think you are not seeing what a difference it would make to have someone emerge on the left as a real leader. Having no one to rally behind demoralizes just about every Israeli I know. The only time they were excited was during those protests (was it last year already?). They have lost faith in Labor, their default, and have no one else to back. I don't even know how many of them still vote, though they should. I should note that none of my connections are settlers and none are religious extremists. Both of those are not as strong as you think, but they ARE protected by the system in a way that exaggerates their influence. And that is resented by a lot of average Israelis, but unless that dissatisfaction towards the right can be harnessed by an effective leader, the left feels powerless...which of course re-enforces the right.

                            If things were trending so solidly Shas, the religious extremist Jews would still be exempt from military service (though of course if January goes more right, as it may well given what I note above, the exemption may well be reinstated).

                            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                            by mole333 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:32:31 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

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