Reflection of the public mood on the Middle East?

CNN are running an on-line poll, asking if people think the action taken by Israel is justified.

The ‘No’ camp are slightly in the lead as of this moment in time (54%:46%) , and it looks to me like there have been over 2 million votes. You might like to take a look.

  • Eye of the beerholder

    Why anyone bothers to take part in these polls is beyond me, particularly as sites such as ‘free republic’ call on their readers who have too much time on their hands to send in multiple votes. Who gives a flying f**k what visitors to the CNN website think? What’s more interesting is a poll on the attitudes of Arabs (muslim and christian) and Jews in the US to the current war being waged on Lebanon. We are always being told that US presidents back Israel to the hilt because of the ‘pro-Israel lobby’. Just who are the pro-Israel lobby anyway – Isreali emigres? The Christian fundamentalist right? American jews? I suspect that US jews are probably a lot more uncomfortable with Israel’s campaign than many would think. Are there any opinion polls on this?

  • Greenflag

    CNN numbers don’t matter . what matters is that in Israel 80% plus of the people support the war against Hezbollah . Even those who favoured the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon a few years back are supporting the Israeli Government .Israel has approx 200 nuclear weapons and will use them if they have to . What were Hezbollah ‘thinking’ or was it Syria and Iran .

    Anyway add this one on to Iraq and Afghanistan and oil price on the way 100 dollars a barrel and the outlook is indeed bright for those suppliers of war goods , etc etc . The result of Mr Bush’s far sighted foreign policy means that the USA is now ‘strategically’ placed to keep forces in the region for another century if not more .

    Saddam Hussein is still waiting to be hanged and Osama is still making videos . Meanwhile back at the ranch Mr Bush’s republicans are facing electoral meltdown in November .

  • michael

    I suspect that US jews are probably a lot more uncomfortable with Israel’s campaign than many would think

    hmmmmm, i dont know about that. ive been in the US for a few months now and politics comes up an aweful lot. everyone ive spoken to, even the supposed moderates, is strangely militant. and in particular the mar militant in their support of isreal and any of its policies. its what is referred to here as a bi-partesan policy.

    dont expect widespread level-headed (or at least what we would consider level-headed) discussion on this.

    but then again, this is just my rather limited observation of a country with population approx. 250million.

  • Setanta

    I don’t that this poll is remotely reliable – I have had emails from both sides urging me to vote at least once.

  • Animus

    I suppose it depends on what circles you travel in Michael – many American Jews are appalled by the situation in Israel. Many moderates are also appalled, but if the climate isn’t right for dissenting, maybe they aren’t talking. At least to you. Salon has been running articles on the current situation; have a read of the letters pages after any justification articles which have run.

    I know the poll isn’t scientifically valid, Eye, but it is still worth finding out what people think. Having read some indpendent media in the US, I was surprised at the defensiveness of the pro-bombing camp. It didn’t used to be that way. Israel used to be able to do what it liked, whenever, and I think the tide may be shifting now. Whether that’s because of the internet and availabilty of instant media or whether it’s some other reason, I couldn’t guess.

    Any country feeling under attack is going to support a campaign Greenflag, at least when the bombs are being dropped on their doorstep. They don’t have the luxury of distance to ponder right or wrong. Listen to the emotive language used: I heard an Israeli politician say that Hizbollah laugh at the deaths of Israeli children. What kind of anger does that stir up in Israelis? Exactly the kind it’s meant to provoke.

  • Henry94

    It would be interesting to do a poll of Slugger visitors.

    Who do you want to win, Israel or Hezbollah?

    I vote Israel.

  • nmc

    CNN and American journalism gives a very different perspective on the middle east than the coverage we get here. I was watching CNN earlier in the month and they had a Republican and a Democrat both agreeing that the Israelis were in the right.

    That’s like the DUP and SF agreeing on something on live TV. LOL etc.

    Yeah, ok that was a joke. Never gonna happen.

  • Green Ink

    These polls are nonsense. As beerholder says, they reflect the attitude of the (multiple-voting) audience of the CNN website. The result will usually support the bias of the network, and the issue then is justified by the “winner”. News networks need to report the news, not try to de/legitimise the actions of a state but running stupid polls.

  • Brian Boru

    I think Bush Snr. would have put a stop to this. His govt was one of the most critical of Israel (by US-standards) and with-held $10 billion for the resettlement of Soviet Jews in Israel. Bush Jnr. is a different creature entirely – largely a product of Evangelical Protestantism with its ideas on modern Israel’s creation being foretold by Biblical prophecy. Many of the Christian Right believe the Battle of Armageddon in the region being a precondition for the “Second Coming”. As such they love war in the region as they want to bring this about. 40% of American Christians describe themselves as fundamentalist and 78% of them vote Republican. So Bush has to pander to them. Then there is the Jewish-American lobby who purportedly provide most of the donations to both main parties. We have seen how powerful these lobbies are. The gun-lobby bankrolls 2/3rds of Congress and blocked gun-control measures (e.g. extending background checks to gun-fairs) and blocked the renewal of the assault-weapons ban. I consider many of the members of Congress to be prostituting their policies to vested-interests, except in a far more blatent way in the US than other Western countries due to the lack of regulation of lobbyists and the way they are seen as so much as an accepted part of political-life over there.

    On the poll, we should remember this is a poll of website visitors. I think the “No’s” are FAR higher in Europe. In Germany, polls show 75% against the Israeli offensive. 62% in the UK. Haven’t seen scientific polls in the Republic but online polls show 75% against too. European public-opinion is pretty united in an unfavourable view of Israel as a paranoid, warmongering imperialist country spoiled with US money and arms. But to impose sanctions on Israel to pressure them would require unanimity in the EU amongst the govts, and the German govt has shown that because of 60 yrs of war-guilt they are still unwilling to criticise Israel, let alone anything more forceful. Poland and the Czech Republic are cosying up to Washington so they won’t criticise either. Hence yesterday’s farce on the difference between a “cessation of hostilities” and a “ceasefire”.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    “Who do you want to win, Israel or Hezbollah?

    I vote Israel.”

    Somehow that question and answer sounds strangely childish and naive.

  • Animus

    Strangely childish? No blatantly, stupidly childish, although a child would probably show more sense and more compassion. It’s not a game Henry, but if you’d like to play, I’m sure the Israeli army would take you on.

    Who do I want to win? The people of Lebanon and Israel, the ordinary people who have no power in this situation but bear the brunt of the attacks.

  • Henry94

    Animus

    Who do I want to win? The people of Lebanon and Israel, the ordinary people who have no power in this situation but bear the brunt of the attacks.

    The same could have been said in WW2 by someone who failed or declined to see the difference between democracy and fascism.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Henry 94,

    Not a very good comparison, considering the (decisive) role of the totalitarian communist power in the allied coalition.

    Your original question and answer sounds even more childish and naive to me now.

  • Animus

    It’s easy in hindsight to pick a winner isn’t it? But democracy wasn’t kind to the many Jews who were denied entry to Britain and America. I don’t think it’s just so easy to choose between Israel and Lebanon here. One could easily argue that Israel is taking the place of WW2 Germany in its occupation and killing Palestinians, as well as Lebanese civilians.

    PS The Germans voted for Hitler – he didn’t just pop up as a dictator. Democracy and fascism aren’t as opposite as you seem to be claiming. Indeed, one could easily claim that Bush is sliding into fascism.

  • Henry94

    Animus

    Indeed, one could easily claim that Bush is sliding into fascism.

    One could claim anything. George Bush will be gone as US President in 2008 but that will not change anything. Do you think Hillary Clinton will be that different?

    But democracy wasn’t kind to the many Jews who were denied entry to Britain and America.

    Democracy is never perfect. Only the prospect of life under the alternatives makes one fond of it.

    I don’t think it’s just so easy to choose between Israel and Lebanon here

    Lebanon is not at war with Israel. Hezbollah are. Does that make the choice easier for you?

    Shuggie McSporran

    Not a very good comparison, considering the (decisive) role of the totalitarian communist power in the allied coalition.

    Defeating Communism was also important and took longer. You could make a case for alternative tactics and strategies but you would not regret the demise of either totalitarian system.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Who do you want to win, Israel or Hezbollah?
    I vote Israel.

    I vote for the civilians on both sides to win,
    but (quelle surprise) that’s looking bloody unlikely
    (emphasis on the bloody…)

  • andy

    “Lebanon is not at war with Israel. Hezbollah are. Does that make the choice easier for you?”

    FWIW I normally think you’re one of the best commentators on the site, but I can’t see how this statement can even remotely be defended.

    Within two days of the original attack by Hezbollah the Israelis had bombed Lebanon’s only international airport and were destroying infrastructure owned by the Lebanese nation. They have also explicitly attacked Lebanese military barracks on numerous occasions.
    To all intents and purposes they are at war with Lebanon. They clearly hope to terrorise the Lebanese into doing their work for them. Not saying they don’t have some good reasons, but that is their rationale…

  • The public initially adopts a knee-jerk reaction to wars. Americans will supported Bush going into Iraq. They overwhelmingly supported Israel when it responded to the katyusha salvo from Hezbollah. Call it the Pearl Harbor – Exodus effect, if you will.

    When the face of war hits the living rooms, however, things change. LBJ made his “resignation” speech five or six weeks after Walter Cronkite told America what the GI’s told him when he went over at Tet: Vietnam was a cluster fuck.

    This now happens slowly in America because the news has become self-censoring, that part of the entertainment package not willing to piss off advertisers or risk losing those valuable FCC licences, especially with the vindictive Bush administration in power. As an example of how even non-lethal actions can pack a bite here, consider that Gibson just lost a Holocaust-related miniseries deal with Disney. I don’t think it was the “sugar tits” remark that did it.

    Anyway, the face of the war in Lebanon has finally made it into the living rooms. The CNN poll numbers support another recent poll by USA Today/Gallup. In the USA Today/Gallup poll 44% of US respondents said that Israel was justified in “some action” and 10% surprisingly said that Israeli action is unjustified, whereas 37% responded that Israel was justified in ALL actions.

    The 44% group is interesting. Last week 50% said that “some action” was justified and 7% said that Israel was not justified in “any action”. In the ensuing week the fence-sitters are now going to either side with 4% joining the “justified in all action” group and another 3% joining the not justified in “any action” group.

    It is the fence-sitters and those who do not think that Israel is justified in any action that you see reflected in the CNN poll.

    Lastly, if any of you think there is a “win” in any of this, you are strictly fugazi. This mess will generate and adversary more ruthless than either Hezbollah or Hamas.

  • andy

    Actually I should say that appeared to be their rationale at the start of the war.
    The Israelis now seem to be pushing for a multinational force to dismantle Hezbollah. I would imagine even the Israelis realise they’ve lost any hope of the Lebanese National Army helping them…

  • Greenflag

    ‘but then again, this is just my rather limited observation of a country with population approx. 250million. ‘

    Which country is that then ? Tne USA’s population is now over 300 million . You were approximately ‘out’ by the population of England or the Ukraine .

  • Brian Boru

    The USA Today poll and CBS polls are intriguing. More findings in particular than intrigue me:

    : 51% either blame “both sides equally” or “Israel” for the crisis in Lebanon.

    : 46% either believe the US supports Israel “too much” (38%) or are unsure (8%).

    : 39% have either an unfavourable view of Israel or are “unsure”. (20% unfavourable, 6% very unfavourable, 13% unsure).

    : In a wider war in the region involving Israel, 40% would oppose American involvement on Israel’s side and 10% are unsure.

    This would seem to indicate a block of around 40% of Americans not blindly supporting Israel most of the time. But is that reflected in the US Congress? No. 410-8 in the House voted to back Israel’s action in Lebanon, compared to unanimous support in the Senate. Shows the untrammelled power of the Jewish-American lobby (and their money) and the Christian Zionist lobby (who believe Israel must control Jerusalem and build the Third Temple to bring about the Second Coming). It’s sad to think that so many lives are at the mercy of lobbies waving wads of cash in the faces of many politicians over there.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Henry94

    “Defeating Communism was also important and took longer. You could make a case for alternative tactics and strategies but you would not regret the demise of either totalitarian system.”

    You seem to have got yourself confused here, or you have abandoned the point you were originally trying to make about WWII.

    Anyway, for clarification – in WWII the communists were part of the allied coalition along with the democrats, they weren’t trying to defeat communism.

  • Where’s Felix ? I would expect another three hundred comment stream like repartition if he decides to comment.
    Peace. Out.

  • “This would seem to indicate a block of around 40% of Americans not blindly supporting Israel most of the time.”

    About 1 in 6 Americans are dispensational eschatologists and believe that Jesus will float down through the fluffy clouds and set things right in this decade. That leaves 22% that may just be hard line Bush supporters (when Nixon’s helicopter left the White House lawn he still had an approval rating of 25%).

    The Israelis play the wackos, just like they played the PLO off Hamas, but are aware that they play a dangerous game with the Christians. There are some in Israel who fear that the Christian zealots will take a few cases of C4 to “dismantle” the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then all hell will break loose (sic!).

    “But is that reflected in the US Congress?”

    Hordes of gay-married, flag-burning Mexicans are swarming at the southern border and Congress votes overwhelmingly in support of Israel.

    Must be an election soon.

    “Where’s Felix ?”

    God’ll getcha for that corkman.

  • Green Ink

    Who’ll still be rationalising Israel’s reaction when they’ve provoked Syria and Iran into the conflict, that will then draw in the US, Britain, Russia, France, China, India…?

    On the evening of November 4, 1995, in Tel Aviv’s Kings of Israel Square, Yitzhak Rabin spoke these words:

    There are enemies of peace who are trying to hurt us, in order to torpedo the peace process. I want to say bluntly, that we have found a partner for peace among the Palestinians as well: the PLO, which was an enemy, and has ceased to engage in terrorism. Without partners for peace, there can be no peace. We will demand that they do their part for peace, just as we will do our part for peace, in order to solve the most complicated, prolonged, and emotionally charged aspect of the Israeli-Arab conflict: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    This is a course which is fraught with difficulties and pain. For Israel, there is no path that is without pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war. I say this to you as one who was a military man, someone who is today Minister of Defense and sees the pain of the families of the IDF soldiers. For them, for our children, in my case for our grandchildren, I want this Government to exhaust every opening, every possibility, to promote and achieve a comprehensive peace. Even with Syria, it will be possible to make peace.

    This rally must send a message to the Israeli people, to the Jewish people around the world, to the many people in the Arab world, and indeed to the entire world, that the Israeli people want peace, support peace. For this, I thank you.

    And then he was shot.

  • Garibaldy

    Did anyone see Channel 4 news? It turns out that the Israelis have admitted that driving 1 Lebanonese person in 5 from their homes was part of their war aims from day one. Isn’t this ethnic cleansing of a country that isn’t even theirs?

  • TAFKABO

    Henry

    I was sure you were being darkly sarcastic when you first posted that comment about who people wanted to win.

    As it turns out, you were absolutely serious. Well, the good news for you is that the slaughter of the Lebanese is continuing at a brisk pace, you’ll soon be able to bask in the victory of the Israelis as Lebanon is reduced to a smoking heap, it’s women and children blown to smithereens and it’s infrastructure obliterated. The more things carry on, it looks like Hizbollah are going to be the only thing left.

    Now that’s real irony.

    Here’s more irony for you.

    From reading talkboards all I hear is that the muslims are the fanatics and crazy ones, impossible to deal with on a rational basis.

    Talking to my friends who are muslim, all they want to do is talk rationally. They show me photographs of dismembered children dragged from bombed buildings and ask me if I have a logical explanation as to how the kidnapping of two soldiers could ever in any way be considered rational justification for the deliberate targetting of civilians.

    They wonder at the pontificating of western leaders and people who lecture about human rights and the inherrent evil of so called fanatics that blow up civilians, and then these selfsame Western leaders and people who dismiss the suffering of people on the basis that they are muslim and need to be dealt with, as if they were vermin.

    They ask why so many talk about Israels right to exist but don’t extend the logic to Palestine or Lebanon. Don’t they have a similar right to exist, and their people defend themselves against aggressors?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Miss Fitz,

    Am I missing something – is there some big social event that slugger’s “pro Israel lobby” are attending tonight? They seem unusually quiet.

  • Miss Fitz

    Oh Shuggie, I have so many responses to that one, but good sense (and a mortal fear of Mick) hold me back.

  • Osama

    [see commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • Harry Flashman

    TAFKABO

    I am sure your Muslim friends do show you the pictures of dead children, the stage managing of pictures of dead children is very popular for Hizbollah/Hamas/PLO (as indeed is creating snuff movies showing the decapitation of their hostages).

    The wire services have already been caught out by the blatant manipulation of children’s corpses at Qana in order to provide “good” propaganda material especially for people like you. When I see Israelis pulling bits of their dead children out of body bags and holding them up like so much dead meat for the benefits of the Associated Press and Reuters cameramen then I will believe there is a moral equivalence in this struggle.

  • P O’Neil

    Do you really think that the targets being bombed by Israel were selected in response to the current situation?? Like the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq etc, it would have taken months if not years of planning for these operations. So, I would surmise that they already had the plans but were just looking for the convenient pretexts to impliment them. This current ‘crisis’ isnt really a ‘crisis’ but the next stage of the Anglo-American Neo-Con agenda.

    I have posted a link to PNACs Rebuilding of America’s Defenses – penned by Bush’s crazies in 2000. http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

    “none of the defense reviews of the past decade have weighed fully the range of missions demanded by the US global leadership, nor adequately quantified the forces and resources necessary to exeute the missions successfully.” “the joint chiefs have admitted they lack the forces necessary to meet the TWO-WAR BENCHMARK.” “For the United States to retain the technological and tactical advantages it now
    enjoys, the transformation effort must be considered as pressing a military mission as
    preparing for today’s theater wars.” “Elements of
    U.S. Army Europe should be redeployed to Southeast Europe, while a permanent unit should be based in the Persian Gulf region.”

    Just a few snippets form this must read document, because without it, you wont have a clue as to what the crazies have planned. They want full DOMINATION of the planet, space and cyberspace…

    Last week some ‘Christian Fundamentalist’ preacher (rev. Hagee) met with Bush et al to demand that America fully support Israel (Gods Chosen People) in their time of need. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1969542.stm

    This preacher’s,and other, congregations have been raising funds over the last few years to rebuild the Temple of Solomon – but as we all know in order for that to happen the Al-Aqsa Mosque must go – what are the chances that a stray Hezbullah rocket will hit it?? Since the early 1990s the Jews have been schooling religious students in the rituals needed, to be used, in the ‘Temple’ in preperation for the coming event.

    WHY is non one talking, or shouting, about the fact that the Brits were caught trying to supply RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL to the IRANIAN MILITARY?? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=397124&in_page_id=1770

    Clearly the Brits and the Yanks are doing their damnded to rachet up tensions in the Middle East, as well as continuing to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. As I said, this isnt a ‘crisis’ this is a another plan by ‘Bush’ and the good ol’ boyz from the Brotherhood of Death.

  • P O’Neil

    Here’s another interesting twist on the Iraqi occupation, and thought it worth mentioning as I stated the ‘Elites’ interest in / obsession with, the occult. (full article here: http://www.fourwinds10.com/NewsServer/ArticleFunctions/ArticleDetails.php?ArticleID=7130)

    Date Published: 2006-04-16

    April 16, 2006

    Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting today on a bizarre religious ritual being preformed by elements of the United States Military, including some of their top leaders, in the closed Military Zone of the ancient city of Babylon in the Iraqi War Zone.

    Seen by Russian satellite photos taken of the areas around Babylon, these reports state that the Americans have constructed a nearly one kilometer circle around their massive excavation of Babylon of a ‘Feathered Serpent’ in an apparent ritual relating to the ‘ancient objects’ they are about to unearth and have stationed giant US Military Cargo aircraft to bring to the United States, and which they have apparently been waiting to do on the specific date of April 16th…….

    The ‘Feathered Serpent’ aspect of this most strange ritual being performed by the Americans in their retrieval of their underground finds in the ancient vaults of Babylon lend further credence to historians who state that the actual name of America was taken from the Winged Serpent God of the Americas name in Peru, which is called Amaruca….

    Most concerning to both Muslim and Russian Religious Leaders of these mysterious events is the timing of them to coincided with the ancient Babylon Religious worship of Easter, but to which Western Christians have adopted as being the day their Lord arose from the dead, but in actuality is a celebration of the Darkest of the World’s powers…

  • Henry94

    TAFKABO

    They ask why so many talk about Israels right to exist but don’t extend the logic to Palestine or Lebanon. Don’t they have a similar right to exist, and their people defend themselves against aggressors?

    It depends on what you mean by exist. Lebanon exists but it has proved incapable of exercising sovereignty over its territory. If it had, we wouldn’t be holding this debate. A free and independent Lebanon is a desirable outcome of this conflict. As for the Palestinians all efforts to achieve statehood for them have floundered on their inability to prove they can run one peacefully.

    a logical explanation as to how the kidnapping of two soldiers could ever in any way be considered rational justification for the deliberate targetting of civilians.

    First they came for the soldiers….

    I don’t see how anyone could be surprised at the refusal of Israel to be a victim. But what the last few weeks have shown is that there exists a serious force in South Lebanon dedicated to the destruction of Israel and run by Syria and Iran. There is never a bad time to wipe out such a threat.

    I see noting but double-talk on Israel from our media and commentariat. Talk of peace and innocent civilians either cuts both ways or it is meaningless.

    The first principle of peace in the middle-east is security for Israel. When that is accepted then there is a chance of peace but it is not accepted. Therefore Israel will have the security it can provide for itself.

  • andy

    “Lebanon exists but it has proved incapable of exercising sovereignty over its territory.”

    Why did that happen again? In large part because the illegal occupation of the Israelis created legitimacy for a resistance group like Hezbollah. Surprisingly the Lebanese probably didn’t want to create a civil war so they could fight their liberators on their behalf of their erstwhile occupiers.

    And when you say “proved incapable of exercising sovereignty” I presume you are also referring to the Lebanese army’s inability to stop the previous daily incursions into Lebanese territory by the IDF (source: Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz).

    “A free and independent Lebanon is a desirable outcome of this conflict”

    Err, that’s unilkely to happen, the pro-America camp of Hariri and Sinoira aren’t looking too credible at the moment. Going from Heroes of the Neo-Cons for standing up to Syria one month, to the world’s greatest evil the other month won’t help them consolidate power.

    Re: Security for Israel. I do agree that is important, and as it generally practices the hiughest standards of civil and religous rights in the region it has things to teach neighbouring countries. However, they’re using the same tactics to obtain security as they have for the past thirty-odd years. They weren’t successful then, they won’t be successful now.

  • Jo

    The invasion of a democratic non-nuclear state by an aggressive nuclear state which believes that offense is the best defence and has the backing of the only world superpower kind of swings the moral pendulum for me in one direction only.

    Unlike those who want Lebanon bombed back to the stone age, most opponents of Israeli action don’t want more dead Israelis to “balance out” their attritin against their enemeies – the statistics show that IDF have killed at least 5 Palestinianss for every casualty their population has suffered. The intent would appear to make that at least 50 dead Lebanese for each Israeli casualty in summer 2006.

    Only those who think the Army here should have been occupying Dundalk for most of the 1970s are those whose moral compass swings them behind this selfdefeating Israeli collective madness which is, as we speak, creating another generation of Arabs who will hate the state of Israel all their short lives.

  • micktvd

    Henry94

    “As for the Palestinians all efforts to achieve statehood for them have floundered on their inability to prove they can run one peacefully”

    This is patronising and bordering on racist. I recall reading a description of the colonialist mentality somewhere which said something like..”if you’ve got your boot on someone’s throat, it’s only human nature to believe that they deserve it”.

    As for the Irish…..

    Harry Flashman

    “When I see Israelis pulling bits of their dead children out of body bags and holding them up like so much dead meat for the benefits of the Associated Press and Reuters cameramen then I will believe there is a moral equivalence in this struggle”

    This is yet more subtle racial villification of a sort very common in the pro-zionist world view. The suffering of Arab parents is somehow not of the same kind as our suffering. They do not value life as we do. Ironic, really, considering the huge disparity in deaths of civilians north of the border.

  • nmc

    It’s dumbfounding to hear people talking dispassionately about Arab children being blown to pieces.

    Picture the youngest child in your family lying dying, and all because the British decided to level Northern Ireland to kill the terrorists. It’s shameful.

    It’s also worth noting that this will never end, for every Lebanese person killed five Lebanese militants are created. And fair play to them, if I lived in Beirut I would spend the rest of my life devising ways to attack Israel.

  • GPJ

    An Irish observer in the West Bank last year talked about how IDF soldiers came over to her group and explained that they as “Isrealis” were westerners and the civilians around them were “just Arabs”.

    Isreal is with out doubt a racist state, which practices aparthied and exclusion on the original population of Palestine.

    Can supporters of Isreal justify this human rights abuser being allowed to be treated as a democratic state? It and its citizens should be treated in the same way as the aparthied regieme in S.Africa, excluded and boycotted, until it implements root and branch changes.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Henry94

    “The first principle of peace in the middle-east is security for Israel….”

    Or, to express this principle in general terms….”the first principle of peace between two warring factions is the security of one warring faction”.

    You sound a bit like a stalinist or a maoist. They were fond of inventing meaningless and inapplicable “principles”.

  • Ringo

    GPJ

    Typical blind acceptance of the notion that Israel is bad….

    An Irish observer in the West Bank last year talked about how IDF soldiers came over to her group and explained that they as “Isrealis” were westerners and the civilians around them were “just Arabs”.

    and you’d never hear a member of the Palestinian Security forces suggesting that the Israelis were somehow unworthy of respect, would you? Of course you would. God knows what someone from Hamas would say…

    I have little or no sympathy for Israel in its dealings with the Palestinians. Their claims about the absence of a credible ‘partner for peace’ is disingenous given the way they have sought to weaken the PA at every turn.

    The Lebanese issue is different – this is clearly an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah. It wasn’t a small bandit gang that went in over the border and attacked the Israeli post. It was an organisation with (supposedly) 12000 rockets – every one destined for Israel. They man have been totally hamfisted in the way they have gone about the military response – but they are certainly entitled to have responded firmly.

  • Ringo

    Can supporters of Isreal justify this human rights abuser being allowed to be treated as a democratic state? It and its citizens should be treated in the same way as the aparthied regieme in S.Africa, excluded and boycotted, until it implements root and branch changes.

    Agreed – just as soon as you’ve got support for a worldwide boycott of ‘products’ from Saudi Arabia for being a human rights abuser. Or is Israel to be punished because it is a democracy?

  • andy

    Ringo
    You’re right that there’s quite a few nations that should come before Israel on a boycott list.

    However, the attacks by Hezbollah are more accurately described as an escalation.
    “Unprovoked” implies it came out of the blue. Since Israeli withdrawal in 2000 there has been a low intensity conflict on the lebanese/ Israeli border with deaths on both sides.

    Israel also kindly left around 100,000 mines in South Lebanon and refused to hand over mine maps. It also violated Lebanese air sovereignty on a daily basis (and occasional land sovereignty).

    And that’s leaving aside the issue of Lebanese Prisoners and the (admittedly ambiguous) nature of the Shebaa farms.

  • Garibaldy

    Andy,

    well said

  • Greetings. P. O’Neil,

    I have no doubt that you are sincere when you express concern about the plight of those entangled in this mess in the Middle East.

    I also agree to some extent that the Bush Administration found a golden opportunity in 2000 to unilaterally reshape the world. Where we possibly part paths is that I believe that these yokels lack the competence to carry out the conspiracy.

    However, the one klick circle around the “Feathered Serpent” story brought me back to the TV editorial rebuttal that I saw shortly after I returned to the Bay Area in the 70’s. Here on the screen was a prim, little old lady complete with bun and granny spectacles lecturing us about the evils of government waste.

    She was particularly revved up about the radar station on Mt. Umanum which had been given to the SETI people along with a ton of cash. Her words to the effect, “I see no reason for this government waste when we have people in San Jose already in contact with these civilizations”. At that point I knew I was really home.

    I love these nuts, that’s why I keep up with Slugger. Anyway, donning my tinfoil hat I googled away in pursuit of the feathered serpent. And what did I find?

    Well the link given with the story led to a web site which cited a story by Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Russian Subscribers. Googling that, I found that Sorcha is all over the Internet, a mysterious person like John Gault or Keyser Soze. that no one can track down in person.

    Next I checked out the Four Winds web site and poked around a bit. These guys are really cool, for instance in their mission statement they say they are out to:

    “1. To reveal the evil secret Plan 2000 for total world control by our present evil world leaders.”

    “2. To reveal to the world’s people that Creator God Aton of Light also has a Plan 2000. God Aton and His Forces of Light will not do it for us but will work with us, as we responsibly confront evil in our day and change the “ending of the play.”

    This is not a flame, merely a thank you for this wonderful little pool of madness amongst a world governed by very seriously disturbed people with nuclear weapons.

  • andy

    G
    Thanks.

    Actually I was reading an interview with a member of the Lebanese Communist Party a few weeks ago and it stuck me as being resonant with a couple of things you’ve said previously in relation to socialism and nationalism/ sectarianism.

    Essentially the Left in Lebanon entered the Civil War on the side of the Muslims/ Palestinians against the Maronites, who tended to be very Right Wing, and subsequently the Israelis. This guy though was very remourseful over the decision, and thought that their anti-imperialistic ideals had been compromised and basically dragged them into what became a nakedly sectarian bloodbath.

    I thought in some senses it was reminiscent of the OIRA ceasefire, how they were probably correct to call it and how its hard to stick to socialist principles when you’re in what is in many aspects an ethnic conflict.

    Anyway I digress….

  • maura

    Ok I have a question.
    Is Henry94, the suppporter of Israel on this blog, the same Henry94, that ‘supports’ Sinn Fein , the GFA and the peace process?

  • Garibaldy

    Andy,

    Interesting analogy. The Lebanonese CP, like the Israeli and Palestenian left, have a hugely difficult task, and it’s good to see them addressing their mistakes. Similar tasks face the left in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and elsewhere. India has huge sectarian tensions as well, and the various CPs there work hard to combat them. Fighting sectarianism has to be the first task of any serious left organisation in such places.

    In local terms, I think it’s clear that the OIRA ceasefire was the correct decision. Socialist principles and anti-sectarianism proved not entirely unpopular in the 1970s and especially the 1980s in the north and very popular in the south, but obviously things have changed since the late 1980s and the remarkable further polarisation of the north in the last decade. I agree entirely that in our circumstances it can be tempting to sacrifice principle for influence and popularity.

    But that leads to disaster – leftists in ethnic nationalist groups always get dragged to the right, not the other way round. The two cannot successfully mix. And the victims are always ordinary working people. There can be no compromise when people’s lives are at stake. No amount of influence is worth the cost of sectarianism.

    There has been a growing recognition of the dangers of ethnic nationalism within the left, something which can only be good for the various peoples concerned. Now, if we can only convince everybody else…

  • maura

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/opinion/03pape.html?th&emc=th

    I am not sure what the policy here is on posting articles, but there is an excellent on in today’s NYT by Robert Pape, on the nature of Hezbollah, and this conflict.

  • “I am not sure what the policy here is on posting articles”

    You are in the company God Aton and his Forces of Light. Need you ask further?

  • Jo

    Now, 57-43.

  • Fanny

    I wonder how the poll will swing when the day after tomorrow the Hizbollah long-range missiles, kindly donated by Syria and Iran, begin raining down on Tel Aviv.

    Sort of like the IRA bombing London indiscriminately.

  • Brian Boru

    Not sure I want Israel to win this one. They need a bloody nose to teach them to stop destabilising the region and return to peace-talks abandoned in 2000.

  • GPJ

    Ringo

    Yes I do think that the state of Isreal is illigetimate in its current form. It is not a democratic state and it surprises me that “democrats” rush to support it, with out a nod to the establishment through terrorism of this bastion of zionism.

    Look back to recent history and the invasion of South Lebanon and as Paul Rogers has written in Village(96) you can see where al Qaida got its justification for the Twin Towers and the World Trade Centre: Isreali destruction of high-rise buildings in Beirut in 1982 which took 10,000 lives in a month of attacks.

    Isreal needs to reform and accept that its history of oppression and zionism ( an idealogy which is undemcratic and supramacist ) is at the heart of the problem.

  • Fanny

    GPJ

    “the establishment through terrorism of this bastion of zionism.”

    Eh???!

  • GPJ

    Fanny

    Isreal was was founded after a military campaign against the British and a terror campaign against the original inhabitants of Palestine.

    Justification came from Zionist idealogy ( that Palestine is the home of the chosen paople ) and the Holocaust.

    Now ironically the Isreali government acts like the very people its founders were fleeing from in Nazi Europe.

  • Fanny

    “Isreal was was founded after a military campaign against the British and a terror campaign against the original inhabitants of Palestine.”

    Ah, that old chestnut. This is Israel we’re discussing, right? You seem uncertain. Have you been reading David Irving or some such?

    Brian Boru

    “Israel … need … to stop destabilising the region..”

    When exactly was the region stable?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Brian Boru: “Not sure I want Israel to win this one.”

    What do you mean “this one?”

    Besides, the Arabs are already defining “victory” downward, just as they did following the 1967 and 1973 war — lose militarily, then claim a “victory” in the media for getting their keisters handed to them.

    Brian Boru: “They need a bloody nose to teach them to stop destabilising the region and return to peace-talks abandoned in 2000. ”

    Riiiiiiiiight. It’s not the extra-national missile-lobbing, soldier kidnapping terrorists what are destabilizing the region, it the Israelis…

  • GPJ

    Fanny

    Your defence of Isreal seems to rely not on historical investigation, but on tainting anyone who is a critic anti-semetic or a nazi.

    What is uncertain about telling history as it is and then making a political judgement on this state and its supporters after historical investigation.

    For your info I would support the Isreali Communist Party if I had the vote there, ( so f**k David Irving and his fellow Holocaust denialists). For your info Fanny I usually refer to this piece of the world as Palestine ( save Isreal for the zionists .

  • Fanny

    GPJ

    “Your defence of Isreal seems to rely not on historical investigation”

    It is precisely because of my investigation that I “defend” Israel. I do in fact know quite a bit about it and its history.

    You on the other hand seem, well how should I put it? You seem ignorant of the most basic issues relating to the place – such as the spelling of its name.

    If you’re a diagnosed dyslexic then my sympathies, but I’d check my spelling if I were you before I engaged in a slanging match.

  • Brian Boru

    Fanny do you also defend Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank to make way for Jewish settlements? Do you defend the 39 year illegal Occupation of the West Bank and Golan in violation of UN Resolution 242?

    “Riiiiiiiiight. It’s not the extra-national missile-lobbing, soldier kidnapping terrorists what are destabilizing the region, it the Israelis…”

    Thousands of innocent Arab civilians languish in Israel dungeons without trial or even charge. Also Israel is occupying the Sheba Farms illegally and so Hezbollah are fighting to liberate their country and were even before the recent conflict. Soldiers are captured in times of war. Even the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni stated some days ago that the capture of soldiers is an act of war and not terrorism. She was castigated by Israeli politicians for saying it but I agree with her (for once).

  • Brian Boru

    “Sort of like the IRA bombing London indiscriminately.”

    Fanny in case you are from another planet you will be aware that that is precisely what the IRA did. Did the British sent their airforce to flatten Dublin or Cork? No. So be careful what parallels you draw, as they may be self-defeating for your (dubious) case.

    “I wonder how the poll will swing when the day after tomorrow the Hizbollah long-range missiles, kindly donated by Syria and Iran, begin raining down on Tel Aviv.”

    It only evens the score as the US arms Israel to the tune of $2.5 billion a year.

    “Ah, that old chestnut. This is Israel we’re discussing, right? You seem uncertain. Have you been reading David Irving or some such?”

    The blowing up of the King David Hotel by Irgun led by Menachem Begin is considered an act of terrorism by many Britons. You might argue “no they were freedom-fighters”. Hamas and Hezbollah also say that. Which makes it ironic that Israel insists on calling them “terrorists”. Have you heard of the Deir Yassin Massacre 1948 by Jewish militias, in which Arabs were butchered for their ethnicity?

  • Fanny

    Brian Boru

    You might have noticed in my response to our dyslexic friend that I used inverted commas when stating that I defend Israel.

    Reason being I do no such thing. How could any sane woman defend wholesale bombing? The Middle East is a mess and always has been, ever since Sargon the First was a lad. It has never been stable and won’t be until some sort of democracy takes root there. But it’s Asia isn’t it, a continent that has yet to discover democracy.

    You are wrong about the IRA bombing London indiscriminately. They placed bombs at carefully chosen targets. Hizbollah on the other hand have but a vague notion of where their ordnance will fall, hence their use of warheads that scatter far and wide, to injure and kill indiscriminately.

    And hey, do what I do regarding the history of the region. Read both sides and then form your own judgements. You’ll find that the story of Israel and its founding is far from clear-cut.

    One thing is clear today however. At least one Arab nation has vowed to annihilate Israel. That’s a matter of public record. Perhaps we should be turning our attention on that sort of threat and studying who is making it. Tell you one thing, Brian, as a woman if I were given the choice of living in Israel and Iran, say, I’d take my chances with Israel. It’s a lot higher up the evolutionary tree.

  • Brian Boru

    “At least one Arab nation has vowed to annihilate Israel.”

    No because Iran is not Arab.

  • Fanny

    I repeat: At least one Arab nation has vowed to annihilate Israel.

  • GPJ

    Fanny

    Historically you cannot refute the claim that the jewish state in Palestine was formed through terrorism against the original population and a military campaign against the British.

    If you can step away from the infantile retorts and attempt to answer this question set, then may be we can debate this question.

    However if you are an apologist for zionist supremacy and you are going to blindly support the war crimes of Isreal then go ahead.

    By the way how do you spell : Zionist State in Palestine ?

  • Fanny

    “By the way how do you spell : Zionist State in Palestine ?”

    Er, Zoinist Steat in Pelastine?

  • Jo

    I have the solution to the whole thing over on Joblog. That is, if you want to follow Israeli logic consistently 🙂

  • Jo

    Now, its 59-41. I think you can say that that is closer to reflecting world opinion and its reassuringly sane. 🙂

  • Jo

    “I’d take my chances with Israel. It’s a lot higher up the evolutionary tree. ”

    Hmmm. I’m sure I’m not the only one who might drawn breath sharply at that rather revealing attitude. Might explain why Lebanese dead children count only as “regrettable” collateral damage. Funny that doesn’t seem to count to you in your self-proclaimed femininity.

    Suppose one were to take that attitude and universalise it. Everyone one opposes is not quite as “human” or “evolved” as oneself. Just think of the consequences, which would still be humans slaughtering humans. Thats a bit more insightful than scorning and (God help us) drawing attention to the spelling of those who (thank God) don’t think as you do.

  • Fanny

    Jo, do please try to read my posts more carefully. I referred to Israel not the Israelis. I believe it’s quite OK to assess a nation in terms of its evolution. We speak, for example, of “developed” and “developing” nations. Israel is a little more developed than its Muslim neighbours.

    Hope that’s clear. Do try not to let your prejudices show so much, sweetie.

  • Jo

    Fanny,

    I am quite happy to be prejudiced against barbarism masquerading as civilised restraint and mass murderers pretending to act purely in self-defence.

  • GPJ

    “We speak, for example, of “developed” and “developing” nations. Israel is a little more developed than its Muslim neighbours.”

    Fanny

    So that justifies the zionists acting like supramacists to oppress its neighbours and the Palestinians?
    Just like the aparthied government in South Africa was more developed than the rest of Africa or Saddam’s Iraq was the most developed state in the region.

    I’m sure that your definition of developed is that an Israeli pilot can now target an ambulance from sixty miles away in a plane built in the USA with missles developed in Derry, passing through the airspace of state’s who are calling on Hizbollah to ceasefire

    Fanny who makes these value judgements on the developed and the developing?

  • Fanny

    Jo, I was of course referring to your prejudices about ME. I can’t imagine why, but you appear to believe that I defend the horrible excesses of the Israeli assault on Lebanon. I don’t.

    You also appear to believe that I’m some sort of Stepford wife: “your self-proclaimed femininity.” Let me assure you that I am not and I don’t understand how you inferred this from any of my posts.

    I repeat: Read what I write with a little more care before forming your prejudices about me.

    And I don’t understand why you’re criticizing my response to GPJ’s baffling posts. He or she purports to know more about Israel’s history than I do, yet is unable to spell the name of that nation (FFS it’s not like misspelling Mississippi!). I ask you: would you take seriously somebody who claims to be an expert on “Eirland”? Nor would I.

  • Jo

    Fanny

    Im not being personal. The “spuremacy” of the Israeli state is not in this case a moral superiority at all. Disproportionate revenge is not selfdefence and its hard to see what disprortionate revenge blood letting would be like if it isnt represented by the violation of a neighbouring state. However, if you regard the Israeli state and culture as inherently superior, you must surely see that its right to exist is not reinforced by its gratuitous inlficting of destruction on Lebanon. The superiority is certainly not a moral one.

  • Jo

    Now, 69-31.

  • Fanny

    “Im not being personal.”

    Glad to hear it. And you won’t catch me arguing against anything you’ve stated in your last post.

    I’ll just add that Israel’s superiority lies in its societal make-up. I’d certainly choose to live there rather in a Muslim land that espouses medieval values, and always to the detriment of more than half the population.

  • Jo

    Fanny

    I know Muslim attitudes to women are not what you and I would or could accept. I do find it ironic that right wing Christians (not you) castigate the medievalism of Islam and castigate relativist morality while drawing on Old Testament punishment to determine “Justice.”

    In peace,
    Jo 🙂

  • Fanny

    Glad we sorted out our differences, Jo. Would that the hot-headed lads in the Middle East could deal with theirs as easily.

    Peace to you too.

  • DK

    Lets see – Israel is founded and over the last 50 years has gradually expanded it’s borders at the expense of it’s neighbours – largely as a result of them launching failed attempts to exterminate Israel.

    The root cause of the attacks, namely the existance & expansion of Israel, is starting to be addressed with the withdrawals from Gaza and the West Bank. But I don’t see any reciprocation from the likes of Hizbollah, who would still be abducting soldiers and firing rockets even if Israel abandoned Sheba heights and went back to 1948 borders.

    It’s only a matter of time before Hizbollah or some other group get a serious weapon and get to wipe out an entire Jewish city. Israel is only buying time with its present attack of Hizbollah.

  • Jo

    Yes, DK, but if there was a clearer moral divide between the likes of Hezbullah and the Israelis, then the moral weight of world opinion and assistance would create a momentum to sort the situation out.

    The missile strikes are wrong – so is the invariably disproportionate violence unleashed
    by the Israeli state – whether in Lebanon this summer or against Palestinians the other 11 months of the year, every year.

    Israel resuming its pre 1967 position would be a start – withdrawal from Gaza having economically castrated that area isn’t exactly what anyone wants. I agree that israel has bought time, but it essentially a short term gain – they have also created thousands of future enemies.

  • DK

    I’m trying to think it through from a strategic point of view. I suspect that the view in Israel is that Hezbollah will not stop until every Jew is expelled from Israel. In the face of that you could try to retreat behind a big wall, but that would not stop the missiles. So you can try and get rid of the missiles or terrorise the populace into not wanting to fire them. In these terms the Israeli response is not entirely surprising. But, it is just buying time until the next phase of rearmament. World opinion doesn’t matter, unless they do something about it – i.e. a “neutral” force stops Hizbollah’s attacks, but last time that happened, the “neutral” force was attacked and replaced by the present ineffective observers. Can’t see anyone willing to take up that job now.

  • andy

    Hizbollah’s stance on Israel isn;t that different from the PLo’s within the past 20 years.
    It has shown itself to be pretty non-fundamentalist with its aliance with Lebanese christian groups though so I would hope (perhaps naively) that it would moderate its stance on Israel if properly engaged.

  • GPJ

    Fanny

    What is baffling about these posts? Spelling of Israel aside, which you have taken personal affront to, which is your right. It seems that you still have not given me a historical correction on my direct question on the establishment of this state?

    You stated that it was not as clear cut as my reading and I’m in agreement that history has many layers. Is the foundation of the state of Israel not a bases for debate on the future of Palestine?