What Israel's really afraid of

It was while reading Gareth Porter’s latest piece at IPS News, Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December — Israel at its peremptory best — that it occurred to us. Porter wrote:

In the first days after the ceasefire took effect [in June 2008], Islamic Jihad fired nine rockets. … In August another eight rockets were fired by various groups [and] only one rocket was launched from Gaza in September and one in October.

Contrary to Israel’s argument that it was forced to [retaliate] against Gaza in order to stop the firing of rockets into its territory, Hamas proposed in mid-December to return to the original. . . ceasefire arrangement.

Porter adds that Hamas even tried to make other Palestinian groups abide by the ceasefire, detaining and confiscating the weapons of those in violation. But on November 4. . .

. . . just when the ceasefire was most effective — the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed. [Its] explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.

First, admitting that the prospect of Hamas popping out of a tunnel, snatching an IDF member, and then scurrying back into the tunnel with him or her in tow is cause for scuttling a truce is a stunning admission of fear. Such willingness to cast the IDF in a frightened light only shows the length to which Israel will go to continue the conflict. Even more telling: Israel violated the ceasefire, as Porter wrote, “just when [it] was most effective.”

It’s not Hamas launching rockets (and certainly not Hamas emerging onto Israel soil from beneath the earth) that Israel fears –- it’s Hamas not firing them.

On a conscious level, Israel seeks to crush Hamas. On an unconscious level it needs it to remain the Hamas it knows and loves (to hate) in order to comply with a militarized state’s imperative to perpetuate itself.

34 replies »

  1. Yes, we should, “with open mind”, listen to words directly from the persons killing women and children by the hundreds. And we did right by listening to the Shrub when he lied about WMD in Iraq (something he laughs about now).

    This is a religious issue, nothing more. Israel wants the land because their god demands it. Same with Palestine. Until you get the delusion of religion out of this, there can be no peace. Zealots don’t care for peace, no matter their god (meaning, Israel isn’t going to stop killing what they consider sub-human animals as long as they have holy land to grab).

    If the Israelis really wanted a “home” of their own, that could be arranged in any of dozens of countries. They don’t want a home, they want their religious base.

    god is the adult’s adult, the parent for scared people of age who don’t have answers and who are terrified by lack of knowns. So they fabricate a sky fairy to say “just because”, and they sleep better at night. …. but, mostly, over thousands of years of dim people blindly following what oppressive “leaders” dictate, we have religious wars killing people over superstition.

    Pretty sad in the information age that we still hold to the memes and instincts of the dark caves of millenia ago. It’s not witches making crops not grow, it’s weather.. stop killing innocent people because it’s easier than finding reality based answers.

  2. I’m going to disagree.

    Modern day zionism is a secular animal. A Jewish supremacist movement. The core of zionism is secular. Coldly so. These people are all about power. They don’t have room for God.

    They use the religious to execute their plan of world domination. Zionism breds enemies out of sight, and offers a fix when they show up angry at the gates. Zionism is the user end of the New World Order. We in the United States, it’s muscle.

    Zionism is using Judaism to hide behind. It’s a trojan horse and it’s dangerous to the world.

    Israel isn’t a Jewish state. It’s a zionist state that happens to be full of Jews. Brought there from the 4 corners of the globe to protect the zionist nest. Human shields, who have no idea what they’re being used for.

    That wall they’re building holds people in too.


  3. Xenon,

    That’s some of the most ill thought out, anti-Semitic ballyhoo I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve noticed a resurgence of anti-Semitism on the left, especially in these blogs, and it’s dangerous comments and ideas like yours that will result in a new pogrom. Just be sure that when you send people off in box cars that it doesn’t come back to haunt you.

    • Jeff: Can you give me some examples of anti-Semitism from “these blogs” on the Left, because I read blogs on the Left and can’t say that I’ve seen a scrap of anti-Semitism. I’ve seen a good deal of anti-Israel policy-ism, of course, but I’m certain that you’re not conflating the two, right?

  4. call me a cynic but that seems to me a rather tired response.

    every time someone tries to speak out against zionists out comes the old ‘anti-semitc’ slur….

    I asked someone once in another thread to stop tying to discredit or argue with people who don’t agree with the illegal occupation of Palestine and instead provide evidence of what good comes of it, to show me something that would show it in a good light, instead of tit for tat arguments.

    strangely they never responded.

  5. Dr. Slammy, I can show you an example right in your own blog. Huber wrote in his Gaza article,
    “That means our “friend and democratic ally,” with the endorsement of our executive and legislative branches of government and with the tacit approval of our president elect, are conducting slaughter for the sake of slaughter.This is also known as total war, and war of annihilation, and genocide.”

    Because he makes it so one sided, ignoring suicide bombers, numerous rocket attacks during the cease fire, kidnapping soldiers, and blaming Israel(Jews) totally, that sounds like antisemitism to me. What else could it be…….equating Jews with barbarians. The Nazis conducted slaughter for the sake of slaughter(remember The Final Solution), not the Jews….The Jews are protecting their homeland, and rightfully so.

    • Jeff: I don’t have time to engage all that is wrong with your argument. Besides, others here have done a pretty thorough job turfing it already.

      I will say that you seem unable to distinguish between “Jewish” and “Israeli government.” Best I can tell, in your frame it is impossible to criticize Israeli actions without being racist. Even if the attacks are one-sided – and the operative word there is “if” – we’re talking about a GOVERNMENT and its POLICIES. That’s a far cry from attacking race or religion. I mean, Israel isn’t all Jews, and the critique is about their actions, not the essence of who they are culturally, racially, genetically, whatever.

      I’m not interested in your poor-mouth, passive aggressive response to Brian, either. What kind of human being you are or he is or which of you is a better one is a rhetorical game – this is about what you said, and what you said is ludicrous.

  6. I saw the pictures of dead children in the middle east. The pictures of people cowering in their basements as they were being attacked while the rockets were coming down on them. It was truely heart wrenching and the international community did nothing. Because the international community did nothing the rockets will soon stop becasue the people who were being attacked have attacked back. If only we had done something then, there would be no blood shed now. So, soon the Israelis will defeat Hamas, take their rockets, and they will be safe again. That is until Iran resupplies them and the cycle starts over again.

  7. So, Jeff, you’re equating criticism of the state and government of Israel with hatred of Jews? Jeff Huber’s arguments are pretty clearly critical of Israel, but I haven’t read hatred of Judaism and Jews yet. Your own selected quote is specifically targeted at the government – illustrate to me how that is critical of Jews in general. Or do you support all Americans being branded with the crimes of President Bush II (or rather, given your particular ideological slant, Clinton and now Obama)?

    And don’t forget, Jeff, that Israel conducted assassinations of Hamas members during the “ceasefire” too.

  8. Anti-semitism used to mean someone who hated Jews. Now it means someone who Jews hate.

    Israel does NOT speak for world Jewry!


  9. Brian,

    You neglect to mention that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. I think it’s fair of Israel to do whatever they deem necessary. Israel has shown remarkable restraint throughout all of these attacks. Attacks on Israel either verbal or by force are attacks on all Jews, despite what y’all want to spin, but luckily for the Jews they have a posture of “Never Again.”

    It seems that there’s a chic meme going around these days in the minds of the left to be influenced by the lurid images portrayed by the anti-Israeli media while neglecting the atrocities of the Palestinians.

    I’m not saying Israel is perfect, but they are the good guys.


  10. There seems to be a pretty obvious error most of these pro-Israel posters are making. They assert that Israel has the right to defend itself, but “defense” is not what Israel is engaging in. Israel is militarily occupying Palestinian land, it is the aggressor, it is the Palestinians who have a right to defend themselves against Israel. Since 1948, when Israel was formed by ethnically cleansing the land of native Palestinians, the remaining Palestinian refugees have lived in a state of constant poverty and abuse, living under the constant supervision of the Israeli military. Palestine is the world’s largest open air prison, and the Palestinians, being humans no lesser than you or I, have every right to struggle for the dignity and freedom that we enjoy. Consider the words of David Ben Gurion:
    “If I was an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: We have taken their country. … They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”
    -David Ben-Gurion [1886-1973]
    If Israel simply withdraws the 25,000 settlers occupying 25% of the land that belongs to the 1.5 million Palestinians and allows the Palestinians to develop an actual economy, she will know peace. Continue to make of Palestine an Apartheid-like collection of Bantustans, and she’ll never know peace. Of course, that is what some Israeli leaders actually want…

  11. Xenon,

    I have a good friend who is Hasidic, and he finds the word “Jewry” personally offensive.

    You said,
    “Anti-semitism used to mean someone who hated Jews. Now it means someone who Jews hate.”

    Good example of very convoluted thinking.

  12. That said, Xexon, your comments do come remarkably close to anti-semitism, if not actually crossing into that domain, and I cannot permit it to go unchallenged.

    Zionism is quintessentially Jewish, and talking about “world domination” and how it relates to Zionism is pretty much what people have been accusing Jews of, and persecuting them for, over the last several thousand years. Zionism (defined by as “an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel”) cannot be separated from the Jewish religion or the Jewish state of Israel.

  13. @ Jeff

    Hamas is not sworn to Israel’s destruction. If that’s your idea of propaganda you’re going to have to learn to be a little less transpartent. Hamas will recognize Israel if Israel returns all stolen lands and goes back to its 1967 borders. These are the same preconditions the entire world presents to Israel countless times in the U.N., unanimously with only Israel and the U.S. voting against. It is also the same conditions the league of Arab states presented to Israel to normalize all relations. Check these links out, they may be helpful in broadening your understanding of the situation. If you care about peace and, like most people, find the idea of injustice, oppression and slaughter abhorent, this knowledge will be very useful in helping you to advocate for a peaceful resolution, guarantee a safe future for the people of Israel, and save lives on both sides:,7340,L-3249568,00.html

  14. How is my criticism of the government of Israel an attack on my Jewish co-workers here in Colorado? What you’re claiming is not even possible, and it equates Israel with Judaism, something that most Jews wouldn’t approve of. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were a dominionist end-time fundamentalist Christian, given how deeply you’ve drank their kool-aid.

    There are NO GOOD GUYS in this conflict, Jeff. Go read my post on the subject if you don’t understand why I say that.

    I have a posture of “Never again” too, Jeff. But it’s not limited to just the descendants of Holocaust survivors. It applies to my Iranian neighbors for whom I’ll chain myself to a bus before I allow them to be intered. It applies to the non-Muslims being slaughtered in Darfur. It applies to Kurds in Turkey, Muslims in Chechnya, Uighers in western China, etc.

    How sad that your sense of humanity seems so limited.

  15. Actually, Zionism was originally secular movement. It was philosophically Russian, so there’s the real bad guy. We all hate the Russians, right? The religious facet of modern Zionism is a an “infallible” reason for Zionism plastered on after the fact. Brian, this doesn’t contradict the M-W definition per se; early Zionists were secular nationalists settling Palestine.

    Israel can be separated from Judaism and Zionism can be separated from both. They probably all should be treated separately.

    Suggesting that a criticism of Israel is the same as being anti-Semitic is disingenuous and does both Judaism and Israel more harm than good. Proof? No, but people actually to tend towards and slip into actual anti-Semitic behavior/statements because they have nowhere else to go. If you frame any criticism as anti-Semitic then you make every critic anti-Semitic; and critics might just as well be anti-Semitic. And yet the Antisemitism is still disgusting. Hurray the anti-Antisemitism crowd scores a point and the snake digests just enough of its own tail to stay ahead of its mouth.

    It is this tying of religion to the issue that makes the bullshit pile up so fast that even wings can’t keep the dove above it.

  16. Brian.

    I guess you’re just a better person than I am as, according to you I’m of limited humanity.. However, I’ve never insulted you personally, and have always tried to keep it civil. However, good manners in a vigorous debate are rather rare these days.

    I remember your column and thought you could come up with something better than that…..I mean, world pressure on Israel as a means to end the conflict, you’ve gotta be kidding. They ought to put the pressure on the people intent on the destruction of Israel. Blaming Israel for everything is just another example of the antisemitism that runs rampant.


    You forget that Israel was attacked in 67 and rightfully occupied those lands as they won the battle. To the winners go the spoils.

    Here’s one back at ya:

  17. Dtr. Slammy,

    With all respect, you just don’t get it.

    As for my poor mouth passive aggressive response… look in your own back yard as you’ve thrown a couple of insults my way, so you can’t really take the high road. Oh wait, it’s OK to be rude to those who you disagree with. Definitely not spirited debate in the spirit of Franklin.


    • Sorry, Jeff, not going to play that game. You like to make it personal when people disagree with what you have to say, but your argument seems to be – and based on your latest, I guess there’s no “seems” about it – that Jewish = Israel and that criticizing Israel’s policies = racism.

      Yes, this is absurd on its face, but let’s give you even more opportunities to dig, shall we? What do you make of Jews who are as opposed to what Israel is up to right now as I am?

      And are American Jews who have never been to Israel, are they Israelis, too? I mean, look at the flag.

      I have to believe you’re baiting people, because no way you’re as thick as you’re acting tonight. Even when you’re offering up positions that I find untenable, you’re rational. This is simply very un-Jefflike.

  18. No, you’ve never insulted me personally, Jeff. You’re right about that – technically.

    You just suggested that people who criticize Israel are anti-semites. You’ve insinuated that critics are going to “haul people off in box cars,” implying that critics are morally equal to Nazis. You’ve said that “attacks on Israel either verbal or by force are attacks on all Jews”, implying that criticism of Israel (a verbal attack) is morally equivalent to spraying a synagogue in La with machinegun fire (an attack by force). So, you’re right, you never insulted me “personally.” Just included me in every negative category you defined. I prefer to be upfront and direct about my insults, especially when they’re so richly deserved.

    Your complaint about good manners in debate would ring less hollow if you hadn’t essentially called everyone who disagrees with you a Nazi, Jeff.

    You missed the point of my post, Jeff. You missed it entirely. I recommend you read it again and try to see beyond your pro-Israel bias to the larger issues I was talking about.

  19. Brian,
    I was talking to Xenon, not you about the boxcars. I didn’t call anyone a Nazi although I did mention the slaughter the Nazi’s perpetrated.

    However, from this reaction I’ve gotten from y’all, I must have struck some kind of chord. And unless you’re an Israeli, it would be better to not criticize Jews. You all bend over backwards not to criticize Blacks and Muslims, you ought to give Israel the same respect.

    Israel=Jewish….just look at the flag

  20. I’m not anti Jewish. I am anti zionist. Profoundly so.

    The zionism I’m talking about has nothing to do with Judaism as a religion. This is a parasitic growth on Judaism that started just over a hundred years ago. It got rabies shortly thereafter.

    Modern zionism is the biggest threat to the world since the Nazis. I’ve rallied hard against it for years. Mostly falling on deaf ears.

    “But Israel is our friend”

    No, they’re not.

    Kick the zionists out of power. Give up the idea of a racist apartheid “Jewish” state.

    Then we’ll talk.

    About a united Israel where everyone is an equal. That’s what the zionists are afraid of.

    Until then, Israel should remove it’s mouth from the US taxpayer’s breast. 60 years is enough. My nipples are tired of you.


  21. Maybe we need a glossary for this discussion: secular Jew, observant Jew, cultural Judaism, religious Judaism, ethnic Judaism, Zionism, post-Zionism, religious Zionism, neo-Zionism, right-wing Jews, left-wing Jews… because at least two people in this thread so far have contradicted themselves within one comment. Anyone? Anyone? Even a Russian?

  22. Well, Ann, that’s a fundamental problem with this discussion. It isn’t just the definition of the terms, it’s how people personally define the terms. But i’ll give it a shot:

    Secular Jew: similar to the Christmas/Easter Christian. A believer more on account of familial/societal tradition than on account of defining himself, first and foremost, by religious belief. (This probably covers cultural Judaism too.)

    Observant Jew: a practicing believer. Synagogue, Kosher, bar/bat mitzahs, etc. This says nothing about political belief/affiliation. And being Jewish is not determinate of left or right wing, that’s personal. Same as with Christians who can be either. Wendy is definitely Christian but hardly right wing.

    Religious Judaism would probably cover the very observant, where life is ordered almost entirely by religious belief…but again, that doesn’t necessitate a political stance. And it should be noted that ultra-orthodox Jews are generally anti-Zionists, prefering to see the messianic prophecy as religious rather than political.

    Zionism is much, much trickier.

    Zionist ideology holds that the Jews are a people or nation like any other, and should gather together in a single homeland. Zionism was self-consciously the Jewish analogue of Italian and German national liberation movements of the nineteenth century.

    The 19th Century enlightenment allowed European Jews their first measure of freedom. Some left Judaism for Christianity or a secular life, but were still considered Jews…leading to the belief in the Jews being a distinct people/race. This idea was promoted by German racist ideology as much as anything else and exacerbated by the rise of nationalism in Europe.

    Russian pogroms prompted the first serious formulation of Zionism and the establishment of a Jewish homeland; it was mostly ignored in the West but found favor in Russia (the empire). Keep in mind that it was the Tsarist secret police who wrote Protocols of the Elders of Zion

    Zionism then got pretty well mixed with socialism. Again, this was largely a Russian phenomenon as socialist ideas were strong among the Russian intelligentsia. Socialism was, of course, gaining strength in central Europe as well. There was a mixing, partially because many Russian thinkers were in self-imposed exile in Central Europe.

    There was also a very blatant modeling on colonialism, with the socialist and colonial models coming into conflict. The kibbutz is a descendent of the socialist, utopian model.

    Obviously, with peole already living in Palestine there was bound to be conflict and early Zionist writers made no bones about it. Ben Gurien:

    But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf; and nothing can bridge it…. I do not know what Arab will agree that Palestine should belong to the Jews…We. as a nation,. want this country to be ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs. What’s important in this statement is the word “nation”.

    It all gets more complicated after that, with British declarations, white papers, assasinations, etc. etc. etc. What you see all over the internet linking Zionism to a secretive banking cartel and plans for world domination is based almost solely on Baron Rothschild giving financial support to early settlements.

    If you want a very good history/description of Zionism, try here:

  23. “Attacks on Israel either verbal or by force are attacks on all Jews, despite what y’all want to spin, but luckily for the Jews they have a posture of “Never Again.””

    Haven’t been able to get to all the comments yet, but this _one_ shows the complete lack of ability to think and reason. Seriously. You make an abstract, disconnected assertion that doesn’t bear out in realty, and you claim it as though it’s some sacred truism.

    This kind of broken logic, twisted irrational thinking is what I see erupt from 90% or more of the right-wing I talk to. Twisting reality, selectively cherry picking words and ideas that are barely tangentially connected and pretending that it’s a solid base for a premise is why the right-wing manages to fail at just about everything they do.

    Disliking the murder and terrorism and land/resource grabbing that Israel, the COUNTRY, is doing has NOTHING to do with “jews”. That you can’t accept that bit of reality shows a failing in you. If you cloak yourself in lies to build your reality, you’re clinically deluded and smart people will just laugh and walk away.

    Hamas is “anti Israel” (I’ll take your word for it, I think it goes _way_ beyond something that simple, but ok..). That means HAMAS should be the target of criticism, not “Muslims” or “Arabs”. To blame a people for an institution’s failings is bigoted. In fact, isn’t that the the exact definition of bigot?

    Hence, if you can’t seperate someone disliking Israel but not having a problem at all with Jews, one might say your own bigotry is causing your problem, which isn’t my problem.

    And now that Israel is banning “Arab parties”, hence no longer being a Democratic State, aren’t the “Jews” being bigots now? Racists? Genocidal? oops..

    And, again, we’re back to how words matter. By definition, Zionists are what normal people would call “bad”. And Zionists are more than just some Jews.. so being anti-Zionist isn’t anti-Jew, hence not anti-Semitic. Again, definitions matter.. we pick what words mean because without definitions, we can’t communicate. That means, if you have to fabricate new definitions of existing words so your view doesn’t come apart, you might want to change your view. That or pick words that make more sense (even though proper words will paint ugly pictures, and that’s one of those things that’s important to avoid, right?.. the UGLY TRUTH about certain views?).

    I’m sorry.. this comment is probably going to get deleted too. But I just don’t know how to be civil to people that are seemingly willfully ignorant, or willfully hold deluded positions when reality and facts and definitions all stack up against them. You can’t have a rational, civil conversation with someone that refuses to be honest in their conversation/debate.

  24. “equating Jews with barbarians. ”

    But, it’s YOU equating “Jews”, the STATEMENT was the Israeli GOVERNMENT, which happens to be [only] mostly made up of Jews.

    Reality is, there are a LOT of JEWS that are AGAINST what ISRAEL is doing.

    those pesky words.. when used in their proper, intended, commonly held meanings, and not interchanging them at will to paint an unreality based picture.. become bothersome, don’t they?

  25. “Attacks on Israel either verbal or by force are attacks on all Jews, despite what y’all want to spin, ”

    Love that statement… So, then, when Jews criticize their own leadership in Israel.. they hate themselves? and are anti-Semitic? Of course, that’s just “leftist spin” too, right?

  26. If Israel = Jews (Israeli Arabs and Christians to the contrary), and if, as you claim, criticism of Israel equals criticism of Jews (aka antisemitism), then naturally you equate the following as well:

    Criticism of NOW or NARAL is misogyny.
    Criticism of the USSR meant that you hated socialists (never mind that the USSR was barely united, slightly soviet, hardly socialist, and never a republic).
    Criticism of the Saudi government is hatred of all Arabs (anti-arabism?).
    Criticism of official Roman Catholic doctrine against birth control is hatred of all Catholics
    Criticism of German policies toward the Turks means you hate all Germans.
    Criticism of U.S. government policies is a hatred of all Americans.
    Criticism of the government of Zimbawe means you’re racist toward all blacks.
    Criticism of fishing practices means you hate all fishermen.
    Criticism of ebonics means you’re a racist.
    Criticism of the editorial policy of the Wall Street Journal means you hate the entire staff.

    If you don’t agree with those statements (which are nearly exact parallels to your Israel = Jews idea), you’re either a raging hypocrite or you’re too embedded in your own ideology to realize that your opinions contradict themselves.

    You’ve stated a sloppily thought out conclusion (criticism of Israel = antisemitism) as an axiom, Jeff. Think through all the assumptions you’re making and work out the logic from initial conditions and you might find that the cognitive dissonance gives you a headache.

  27. jeff-
    there are many israelis who oppose the policies of their government. are they too anti-semites? numerous jewish groups such as the jewish voice for peace and not in our name who condemn the actions of israel. anti-semites again? young israelis, called the shministim, jailed for refusing to serve in the israeli army because they believe the actions of their country are unjust. they too are anti-semitic, according to your criteria. you mentioned numerous times that you weren’t attacking anyone personally, but you repeatedly yelled anti-semitism. this IS an attack and an insult on a persons character… and most people take that very personally. the easiest way to discredit a persons argument is to say they are biased, racist, anti-semitic, etc… but it’s hitting below the belt, and you know that. go to some of the websites of the groups i’ve mentioned and see why they feel the way they do. maybe then you won’t be so quick to label those who feel differently.

  28. In any group, there’s those who oppose. For example, there’s disaffected Muslims who believe in Christ.

    I could give you a hundred other examples, and you could go tit for tat.

    Unless you have some self doubts, perceived name calling shouldn’t be such a big deal. And I clearly didn’t call you an anti-Semite. for a different perspective.