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July 23, 2006

cohen's controversial article

on Israel, its history and its relation to the current crisis


tags: my $keywords = "cohen, washington post, israel, lebanon"; my @split_keywords = split(/,\s*/, $keywords); my $split_keyword; foreach $split_keyword (@split_keywords) { print ' '; }

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Comments (26)

I'm willing to buy the source of the scribbler, please email me

Posted by: MAtt Clayton at July 23, 2006 6:11 PM

Israel's definitely painted itself into a corner. The entire Muslim/Israeli thing is like a giant snowball rolling down a hill. A snowball made of horseshit. In the desert.

He has a point in that article, but what choice does Israel really have? It seems to me that if they stop responding with force, they're just welcoming Hamas and Hezbollah to walk all over them.

It's comforting to know we have an able president and administration to worry about this so I don't have to. Oh wait. Whoops.

Posted by: Cathy at July 23, 2006 10:54 PM

First, the majority of Hamas are Semitic. Second, Cohen didn't reach back far enough into history, he skipped the son’s of Abraham, Ishmael (Arab) and Isaac (Hebrew); step brothers, patriarchal, related by blood. Third he leaves the meat out of the modern conflict, both redundantly kosher and hallill, namely, the US and UK. From the alliance between FDR and the Saudi Royals (the only country in the world named after a family) to the 1948 duplicity of Truman and his so called “committed support” given the King of Jordan, to the UK and CIA undermining Mosedeq in Iran forcing the installation of the tyrant Shah Pahlavi, to JFK looking the other way when the French gave Israel nuclear technology, to LBJ’s betrayal of the men on the USS Liberty during the six day war, to Reagan trading arms for hostages, then supporting Saddam in a war against Iran, to 41 looking the other way, then bold face lying to the American people of babies tossed out of incubators in Kuwait leading to the first bombing of our former ally in Iraq, to arming Israel to the tooth with urban weapons pushed so hard by AIPAC that the American people no longer know who his or her congressmen represents, to the lies piled as high as the twin towers stood of 43 who has snatched the hearts of the American people through constant deceit. And I have left a bunch of stuff out. Yes, Mr. Cohen forgot many mistakes in regards to the formation of the state of Israel and the conflicts in the Middle East. Hunker Down Indeed.

Posted by: notmakinmanyfriends at July 24, 2006 4:51 AM

This is a strange and disjointed article. It starts with some factual inaccuracies (like ignoring the fact that there was a continuous jewish settlement in Israel since well before the Arabs came to the region from the arabian peninsula, or calling Israel "a nation of European Jews" when most of its Jewish population didn't come from Europe but from Yemen, Morocco and recently the FSU) and tries to tie it into the most recent conflict - where any land evacuated by the Israeli army and left to the "local administration" (PLA and Lebanon) to govern instead turned into bases for terror aimed at Israeli civilians. Based on this scenario, Mr Cohen concludes "The smart choice is to pull back to defensible -- but hardly impervious -- borders. That includes getting out of most of the West Bank -- and waiting". I have no idea how that follows from his previous statements. Nor why he thinks waiting will change the current situation. Especially since that situation is fermented by countries that stand to benefit from the unrest.
Note that the G8 convention did not discuss the Iran nuclear program as planned - focusing instead on the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Coincidence?

Posted by: surprised at July 24, 2006 9:49 AM

The amount of anti-semticism in the world has always surprised me. There always has been, and there always will be. It's not that all Arabs feel the same kinship and alliance with each other that Jews share, but that in the Palestinian situation, the Palestinian refugees have become a burden for the neighboring Arab states. If, in the beginning, the Palestinians that fled Israel were accepted by their Muslim brothers in Lebanon, Syria, and other nations, there would not now be over a million "refugees" waiting to return to a Palestine. Cohen suggests that Iran was an ally of Israel's in the beginning. Well, if Arabs, and Muslims, shared the same hate they have for Jews as love for each other, we would not be in this situation.

Posted by: Nivalsj at July 25, 2006 10:53 AM

Did you post this link to show us an example of wrong thinking, Jewish apologetics and WTO pandering?

Posted by: James Jarvis at July 26, 2006 9:09 PM

Oh yeah, how much you want for the scribbler? Got a Mac version?

Posted by: James Jarvis at July 26, 2006 9:11 PM

I understand that a recent poll told us that 59% of Americans think this is the beginning of Armageddon. Well, there's nothing like self-fulfilling prophecy, is there?

Posted by: Chriss Pagani at July 26, 2006 10:31 PM

It always amazes me how sanctinmonious we in the West get when it comes to taking somebody else's land. If the Europeans were the ones who couldn't stand the Jews, shouldn't *they* be the ones offering them land, rather than a bunch of Arabs?

If it's ok to dump our problems on somebody else's door why don't we ship plutonium waste to, say, Egypt? It's just Arabs, right? Remember, it's DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM-LOVING plutonium, kinda like the enlightened European Jews we shipped over...

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2006 9:13 AM

crack a couple history books, eh?

Posted by: read fcs at July 27, 2006 11:37 AM

like ignoring the fact that there was a continuous jewish settlement in Israel since well before the Arabs came to the region from the arabian peninsula, or calling Israel "a nation of European Jews" when most of its Jewish population didn't come from Europe but from Yemen, Morocco and recently the FSU

What history of Israel are you reading? The histories I've read (including histories by respected Jewish scholars) say that while at the turn of the century there were long-held, integrated settlements by Semetic Jews and immigrant Jews from Yemen and Morocco (as well as other Meditterean and Mid-east countries), much of the Jewish population came from Europe. These new landholders purchased their land from Arabic landowners, generally wealthy, absentee landlords. Not taken into account were the long-lasting land workers (basically serfs) who were now without a place to live and work.

Back to the op/ed piece ... bold to start, a bit scattershot throughout ... meh, not anything I hadn't talked about in the past ten years.

Basic solution: one state, call it what you will (Palestinian Israel is my favorite). Reject the tenent of Isreal being a "Jewish State." The idea of simply creating a state should not have been considered any time in the 20th century. At the height of European colonialism, it would have been passable (see most of the white, non-European world for proof), but not in an increasingly industrial world. That this state was founded not just on religious principles but on religious preference is even more rediculous. Repatriate those families who lost property and homes when they took refuge during what was to be a short skirmish. Reject "buffer zones" or "security zones" or whatever the Israeli government feels like calling seized soveriegn property. Reverse decades of active settlement (a war tactic that is centuries old) in Gaza and the West Bank. It's not perfect, but it's a start.

As for the "sons of Abraham," can we please keep mythology from invading proper political discussion? If you want to bring that up, there are plenty of other unhappy stories that I'll bring up, most involving death.

Posted by: automator at July 29, 2006 12:40 AM

You want to tell that to the Hasidic and Islamic fundies faces? You sound like a bit of a prick, go there and tell them your brilliant ideas! You seem to be the "FIRST" to have it all figured out. Go, tell them, I dare you! Oh, and btw, the body bag you'll be coming home in, is on me.

Posted by: notmakinmanyfriends at July 29, 2006 9:23 PM

tisk tisk tisk...is it too late to comment on this? I wonder. amazing how simplistic some solutions appear to be. Everybody has the answer, the right one, the truth. Nobody does. Not even history has the truth. It's written by the winners most of the times. From my window, I have trouble not feeling bad for Lebanon. Is it because us, the US are backing little Israel? Yeap, in part is that. We..humans. So uncivilized still, starting with me.

Posted by: tatubela at July 31, 2006 3:15 PM

Israel has cheerleaders in the United States. Most of the world sees through Israeli shenanigans. For Americans who haven't caught on yet: Israel is a land thief. Never mind Israel before 1948: the UN gave the Jews national status and borders to live in. Let's just agree to let those borders be Israel.

But then in 1967 Israel stole more land (the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem). More than a dozen times the UN has said very clearly: Israel get out of the Occupied Territories. Israel says no, and the US vetos any Security Council resolution on the matter.

Then the peace deals. Israel plays along. The Palestinians give up their right to return. They compromise on Jerusalem. They even make concessions on the settlements. What does Israel do while negotiating peace: it builds settlements, and then walks out and says no peace until this that or the other. This goes on and on, giving Israel more time to sneak 400,000 settlers into the West Bank, while breaking up Palestinians into dirt road-connected ghettos. Everytime a deal gets struck, Israel finds a reason to walk out.

The deal has been made clear by the World Court, and 150 nations in the UN: Israel get out of Palestinians lands. Tear down your settlements. Go back to your UN-granted borders. And then, pay Palestinians fair market price for all the stolen land, and hurt caused. Just as Jews demanded such reparations from the Swiss.

Why doesn't this all happen? The US back Israel, because Israel is the little bully cop with nukes that keeps the Arabs in the region under check.

We need to get off oil. We need to get out of Arab and Muslim lands. We need to stop funding Israel ($90 billion dollars so far). We need to stop believing stupid apologists like Cohen when they lie, and help average Joes demonize understandably pissed Muslims.

Terrorism is the price we pay for setting up dictators and repressive regimes all over the Middle East. Terrorism is the price we pay for Israel's aggressive massacre policies. Terrorism is the price we pay for trying to manage oil that doesn't belong to us.

Let's kick the lobbyists in the ass. Let's take back our government. Let's get off oil. Let's get out of the fucking Middle East, and let the people there finally determine their own destiny.

Before we got in there, before the Brits started interfering, Muslims and Arabs were well able to create a magnificent civilization. It's time we let them do that again.

And it's time we repair our own civilization, because it has been stolen by oil-loving, Israel-apologizing, war-making assholes who are conducting a real and dirty class war against middle class Americans that built this country.

Posted by: ManhattanBrendan@gmail.com at August 1, 2006 12:12 AM

The problems in the middle east are centuries old, and are compounded by more problems that have piled up in the recent decades. Cohen seems more comfortable with those in more recent years.

Be that as it may, the conflicts are rooted in conflicting ideologies. I heard an interesting discussion on Diane Rehm today, during which one guest admitted that you can't change/challenge an ideology through military actions, only with better ideas. Time is limited on these shows, but this is where automater is at least coming close to the mark. You may not like his ideas or think anyone will accept them - at least at the present time, but bombing the hell out of people wil not change their minds.

Indeed, it may quiet them for awhile until they regroup and come back with force of their own. Smacking down an ideological opponent also tends to have the effect of making said opponent more stalwart in current ideals. Might makes right? Hunker down? Or just revel in the fact that Armageddon is finally nigh?

It's funny, that maxim ma and pa would dole out to the grade school kid who's been fighting: You know, junior, it takes a real man [adult] to walk away from a fight.* It also takes real leadership. THEN there would be enough quiet, enough air to discuss new ideas. New new NEW - it's impossible to solve a disaster with the same reasoning that created it.

I do wonder just what the breaking point, the rock bottom of warring civilization will be. When will people say "uncle" and really mean it, so that they'll be willing to progress, for the long haul? I also wonder how badly this wave of fundamentalism is infecting the U.S.? Fundamentalism as a social condition halts meaningful debate, curbs curiosity, leaves people frustrated, and when push comes to shove, the solution seems to be to shove harder and harder.

Hunker down? Well, I'm willing to consider that the solution will take years to craft, and yeah, there's a long haul ahead of the world. But not hunker down and brace for more fighting. Brainstorm, spin ideas on their heads, forget there's a box, anything, but ai yi yi, have the guts to stop firing weapons.

All the fuss over 2000/2001 being the next millenium left me rolling my eyes - these are just arbitrarily assigned numbers, after all. Yet, we can assign meaning to them can we not? Why not, then, have this new millenium be a marker for a new way of thinking without me feeling so naive for wishing this? Evolve rather than devolve...

*OK, to be fair, I can remember a few bullies who wouldn't quit until abusee kicked their ass, but how much more destruction can the world take? The photos from the fronts aren't of a few cuts and bruises, ya know?

Posted by: gypsysister at August 1, 2006 12:17 AM

The Lebanese government mortgaged their people's prosperity and future by allowing Hezbollah free rein to militarize the south and use it as a base for shooting missles and sending terrorists into Israel. Just like a balloon mortgage, eventually the payment has come due.

Not long ago, the people of Lebanon rose up and forced their government, the Europeans, and the U.S. to take notice and to kick out the Syrians. If only they had done so with Hezbollah, if only the Lebanese Army had "provided for the common defense", the situation would be totally different.

On the Alive in Baghdad blog -- http://www.aliveinbaghdad.org -- Shadi Al-Kasim quotes a Lebanese citizen, Murad Antonius, "I'm 40 years old and I live in Ba'abda. I'm very sad and angry at what's going on. But I cannot blame Israel. We started, or Hezbollah to be correct. This is crazy. You cannot attack who's several times stronger than you. We used to have many detainees in Israel, but now 3 millions of us are detainees. This is not fair." Al-Kasim goes on to state, "I met many Lebanese Christians, Sunnis and Druze. All of them are indignant with Hezbollah and Israel. One of them told me: Lebanon is a state within a state. It is unbelievable." See http://www.aliveinbaghdad.org/node/234 .

How true.

Posted by: Egregious at August 2, 2006 11:17 AM

Hey Egregious (what's your real name? Shlomo from Tel Aviv? Or are you an American Jew whose loyalty is to Israel, not your own country?) you forgot to mention that Hezbollah is a liberation movement formed the last time Israel invaded Lebanon. If they hadn't bled Israel so badly they never would have left.

Posted by: Ben at August 3, 2006 4:35 AM

There was a time when Israel's retaliatory attitude was more than forgivable. However, from the dark days of say, 1967 (when the West Bank was annexed but not without reason), we now find Israel as the major regional power, with Israel’s relations with the US are the significant factor.

Israel continues to act as the over zealous victim in it's actions. This article, beyond its senseless skimming of history (other comments on this suffice), does not address the simple fact that Israel has not learned to accept the regional responsibility it now has. These are not the days of the Yom Kippur war, this is not post May 1948, and Israel is no longer the victim.

I love Israel dearly, it is a wonderful place in the world, but it must grow up and accept that the crimes once committed against it, are arguably, the crimes it now commits. We must remember that the militant movement is closer to the history of the IDF than many care to give credence to. Militant attitudes are born of subjugation and the marginalising of whole social /religious groups. This is not a 20th or 21st century phenomenon; it is the history of mankind itself.

The Jewish question, the Second World War, the ascendancy of Israel as a power - all important, but no, not the point. The point now, is for Israel and the US to accept that there is, on Israel's doorstep, one of the most densely populated places on the planet i.e. Gaza. These people deserve the right to live within Palestine, just as the Jews and the Christians. Self-determination is not a gift for Israel to bestow when it decides; it is a responsibility to ensure. Like it or not, Israel as a power, has grown up - it's leaders and ideological strategists should consider doing the same.

Posted by: Scott at August 3, 2006 3:20 PM

Thank you, ManhattanBrendan and Scott!

Posted by: wambulus at August 3, 2006 6:12 PM

"It always amazes me how sanctinmonious we in the West get when it comes to taking somebody else's land. If the Europeans were the ones who couldn't stand the Jews, shouldn't *they* be the ones offering them land, rather than a bunch of Arabs?"

Dude, you copied that argument from Mr. Ahmendidjajad (sp..?)--and the answer is in the question itself. Europeans just killed 6 million Jews, and you want to make a homeland for the survivors....in Europe? Where are we going to put this new state? In Germany? Do you think the Germans will like that any more than the Muslims do? Not to mention the fact that no Jew in his right mind would move into the heart of Germany right after they were defeated.

At least in Israel Jews have some sort of historical and religious connectoin to the land. Was it a mistake? Maybe, but far less of a mistake than plopping Israel in the middle of Europe.

Posted by: Koopa at August 5, 2006 2:24 AM

I guess the story is so different when you're involved. Being Lebanese, hearing- before they bombed the cell phone towers- 95 percent of my family, most who were simply on vacation to visit my grandparents, struggling to escape something the Lebanese people do not want and don't deserve, it changes the entire story. 70 Israelis and 900 Lebanese have died, one third of the victims being children. How does this equal to two soldiers? Lebanon looked like Beverly Hills when I last visited. It was a beautiful Mediterranean paradise, and now I watch the places I love exploding on the television every day.

Posted by: Arij Mikati at August 5, 2006 2:03 PM

Israel destroyed Lebanon because Lebanon was developing into a model multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy, with none of the human rights abuses Israel has committed and which are documented by Amnesty International, etc.

By destroying Lebanon's economy, Israel can maintain supremacy, and it can continue to pretend to be the only working democracy in the region.

Israeli democracy:
no constitution,
shifting policies depending on the coaltion in power, and what Orthodox (religious zealot) constituencies balance it)
seamless marriage of military and civilian leadership
thwarted civil rights for native Arab/Palestinian Israelis

Lebanon was becoming better. It was a model for what Israel should become: a single, democratic nation, where Palestinians can participate as equal partners, in a state that is neither Jewish or Muslim, but democratic.

Posted by: ManhattanBrendan@gmail.com at August 5, 2006 7:41 PM

Manhattanbrendan, do you seriously believe Israel's miliatary actions in Lebanon are based on jealousy? That they have nothing to do with rockets, incursions, landmines, and kidnappings that came across the Lebanese border into Israel over and over again?

I thought it was Syria and Iran that destroyed the multi-ethnic, multi-reliigious society in Lebanon decades ago. It was only after the Lebanese recently got the backbone to kick the Syrians out that things really began to improve -- in the north, not in the Hezbollah-controlled south.

As for Israeli democracy, well, let's see. Imagine standing on a street corner in Tel Aviv and loudly criticizing Orthodox Jews. What would the Israeli government do to you? Then, imagine standing on a street corner in Damascus, Tehran, Cairo, or Riadyh (pick one) and loudly criticizing Orthodox Muslims. What will their governments do to you?

Posted by: Egregious at August 7, 2006 12:05 PM

Egregious,
You have chosen your name wisely grasshopper.
One)
Your specious summaries of my arguments, they're egregious, as is Your Name, Egregious.

Tw2)
YoUr mischaracterization of Lebanon (yes it was a finer multi-ethnic democracy than can be said of your sacred supremacist Jewish State) by vicariously insulting Syria and Iran is equally Egregious. Again, wonderfully apt choice of name. It is an insult to ignore the history of nations we Americans used like slaves. Iranian democracy under Dr.Mossadagh was overthrown and replaced by the Shah and Ayatollah dictators with American planning and money and guns. Islamic fundamentalism comes from the dirty resistance to what became the Monolith American Devil. The devil being a sneaky unethical spy driving apart lovely groups of friends with dishonesty & worse.

& Three)
Your smelly breath is Egregious too.

Posted by: ManhattanBrendan@gmail.com at August 15, 2006 12:49 AM

If you're bitchy and you know it -
Pass the blame !
If you're bitchy and you know it:
Than this gift will surely show it,
If you're bitchy and you know it -
Pass the blame ! ;)

Posted by: grozny at August 21, 2006 5:30 AM

lol

I came home drunk, and wrote that egregious response.

Ze won't let me erase it?

Posted by: ManhattanBrendan@gmail.com at August 21, 2006 1:36 PM

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