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Leftists Speak Out

Robert Norse, a homeless advocate in Santa Cruz, read this article in its entirety on his radio show, Bathrobespierre's Broadsides: Civil Rights for the Poor on July 30, 2006 on 101.1 FM. That radio show is archived at www.huffsantacruz.org.  Read on for  imbedded comments. ---Becky Johnson

from: http://counterpunch.com/chuckman07292006.html 

Weekend Edition
July 29/30 2006

How Israel Could Destroy Itself

Delusional Expectations


At this writing, Israel has killed six hundred civilians in Lebanon,...


BECKY:  Human Rights Watch reported on Aug 5/6 2006 in an article appearing at none other than COUNTERPUNCH, that the death toll had just passed 500 deaths.

source: http://counterpunch.com/bouckaert08052006.html

...including more than one hundred children, and killed another one hundred and fifty in Gaza. It has created hundreds of thousands of refugees and destroyed enough bridges and power stations and apartments to create misery for years to come.

Nothing is more dishonest than attempting to justify this barbarism with "Islamist fundamentalists declare their goal openly to destroy the state of Israel and kill Jews."

BECKY:  First it is dishonest to deny that Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah in Lebanon has openly declared his intent to destroy Israel and kill the Jews. Second, Israel can't just go around attacking any tinhorn outlaw state who wants to destroy Israel and kill the Jews, for it would never get any other work done if they did so.  Third, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Israel from the Katyusha rocket attacks, which have hit two hospitals, schools, businesses, a train station, and apartment buildings.  If no bridges or power stations were hit, then give them time. Chuckman is not interested in Israeli misery.

....There is no possibility that Israel can be destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists: the notion is simply a fantasy.

BECKY: Just a fantasy?  And the Nazi Holocaust never happened, right?

....This is so not just because of Israel's ready willingness to bomb and kill, but because of great-power guarantees.

BECKY: Great power "guarantees" which Counterpunch weekly attempts to undermine.

...It is so also because no Arab state believes any longer that Israel's destruction is a sensible or possible goal, despite their leaders, public rhetoric.

BECKY: Oh really? So killing Jews and destroying Israel is soooo last century?  Wake up and smell the Jihad. LOTs of Arab and Muslim countries have fanatical chapters and they are recruiting.  Arab oil money can fund large and dangerous militants.  Spoken like someone who lives in CANADA!!

....And it is true because the enemies Israel claims are so threatening, organizations such as Hezbollah or Hamas, are militarily weak by any rational standard of calculation.

BECKY: Large armies have a lot of trouble dealing with covert terrorist organizations. Its not the slam-dunk Chuckman would have readers believe. Hezbollah has the 5th largest army in the mideast.

....Israel began by moving into a bad neighborhood, and everyone involved understood this from the beginning....

BECKY:  Considering the neighborhood they moved from, this was an upgrade.

....yet Israel behaves as though it should be normal to enjoy a pristine Disney-like suburb with white-picket fences. It reacts to activities in the bad neighborhood that disturb its fantasy with ferocious indignation. Israel's destructive behavior is explained largely by this delusional expectation.

BECKY: Chuckman thinks Israelis are "delusional" for expecting to be able to live in peace and security in their own country.

If Israel had spent half the resources it has spent on war over the last fifty years instead on helping its neighbors and building up their economies, the region would be a far better place today.

BECKY: First, it has been the Arab threat that has forced Israel to arm itself to the teeth at great expense.  For them it is a matter of survival.  But criticizing Israel for not "helping its neighbors" or "building up their economies" demonstrates a remarkable ignorance of the history of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the Oslo Accords.  From 1967 to 1993 (The year Arafat was installed as the leader of the Palestinian Authority) Israel built 166 health clinics, expanded sewage, water, and electrification grids. Due to Israeli business investments, the GNP for the Palestinians increased 13% per year between 1967 and 1980. Israel paid universal health insurance for all Palestinians. Israel built 6 Universities and 20 Community Colleges for the Palestinians. Infant mortality rates dropped precipitously and literacy rates soared. They even built them a sports stadium! When Israel passed civil control of the West Bank and Gaza to Arafat, the unemployment rate among the Palestinians was 5%.

source:  www.israel-UN-org/archive/latest-archive.htm#1999


....And if Israel had been willing to make reasonable concessions to the needs of others in the region, there might well be lasting peace today.

BECKY:  Israel or Jewish organizations have made 13 separate credible attempts to set up a Palestinian state beginning in 1937.  Some of the latest have been Barak/Clinton in 2000 and Bush's "Roadmap" in 2002. In EACH case, the Palestinians could not stop the terrorist attacks that were a prerequisite to proceeding.  The Oslo Accords were such an attempt.  Israel withdrew from S. Lebanon in 2000 hoping it would bring peace.  They withdrew from Gaza in 2005 in a very painful concession involving displacing 8,000 Jewish residents from their homes, schools, and businesses---all in an effort to make peace. 

....The irony of Israel's current destructive behavior.....

BECKY:  Israel's DEFENSIVE behavior against attacks from Hezbollah..

....is that a healthy, prosperous Lebanon is in Israel's long-term interest, just as it is in Israel's interest to have all of its neighbors prosperous and flourishing.

But, instead, Israel's response to any provocation from any gang or individual is always war and maintaining "the iron wall" - an early Zionist phrase that has provided the foundation of Israeli policy for over half a century - against all outsiders with disregard for their interests or needs.

BECKY: False!  Israel attempted diplomatically to pressure Lebanon to abide by UN resolution 1559 passed in 2004 to police its own southern border and prevent Hezbollah from lobbing missiles over the fence. 

...Deception is an important tool in any war, and Israel's extensive use of it shows us how it regards neighbors and others it should have cultivated as friends.

BECKY:  So the Jews are liars?  Is he saying that the Israelis lie MORE than Hezbollah or Hamas or the Lebanese government? What about Mohammed Dura? What about the so-called Jenin "massacre" in 2002?  You know, the one that never happened? Or women being coached at Palestinian hospitals to tell reporters they gave birth in the dirt of an Israeli checkpoint?  Or the latest Gaza beach deaths that were falsely blamed on the Israelis by the PA? How about claims of phosphorus weapons and cluster bombs? Deception is a tool used far more often by the Palestinians and their supporters than by the Israeli government.

....Look at the bombing of a UN observation post in Lebanon, killing four unarmed UN workers. Israel says it was an accident, but the post had been there for years, and it was well marked. Moreover, the UN workers were killed in a bunker, meaning that a certain kind of munition had to be used to kill them. According to a BBC report, the UN peacekeepers had contacted Israeli forces ten times about artillery shelling in the hours before they were hit by a precision-guided missile. How possibly can this have been an accident?

BECKY: Is Chuckman obscuring the known fact that Hezbollah rocketeers were firing repeatedly from those areas as well, at least 2 or 3 days earlier and perhaps that day as well?  Why wouldn't the UN "observers" report those Hezbollah rockets?  Maybe they are not as neutral as we would like.  The UN failed its responsibility as well. They were supposed to be there to prevent rocket attacks on Israel. Instead, the observation posts provided protective cover for rocket attacks.  Israel says they accidently hit the post. I believe them.

....Could the failed international conference in Rome where proposals for an immediate cease-fire and an international force in Southern Lebanon were advocated have provided Israel's motive? The cease-fire proposal was quickly killed by the United States to give Israel more bombing time. Was the proposal for an international force the target of Israel's attack? Who would commit observers or troops if this is what would happen to them? We know Israel does not want outside interference in Lebanon. More broadly, Israel has shown intense hostility towards the UN for years, perhaps one of its closest bonds with Bush's mob.

BECKY: Chuckman is way out on a limb here with his conspiracy theories. The answer is much simpler. Israel needs more time to root out the Hezbollah militant capabilities which the Lebanese army won't do, and the United Nations failed to do.  As for Israel's dislike of the UN, one need only look at the dozens and dozens of anti-Israel resolutions passed by the Arab/Muslim block of nations and the failure of a single one against any Arab country to explain Israel's point of view.

....There is some evidence that the Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the beginning of the current bombardment were actually kidnapped inside Lebanon on a provocative mission. I have no idea whether this true, but it is far from improbable. The kidnapping has certainly provided an excuse for bombing the hell out of southern Lebanon.

BECKY:  Why not rewrite history to say it never happened? Chuckman would rather a history he WISHED had happened than one that actually did. This is a poor quality in a news writer.  He also "forgets" that in addition to the kidnappings of the two IDF soldiers---Hezbollah simultaneously launched a hail of Katyusha rockets over the border at Kiryat Shmona and other nearby Israeli villages in an unprovoked attack.

....Israel's many past deceptions naturally enough leave one uncomfortable about any of its official statements on any important matter. First was the covert creation of a nuclear arsenal, a fact not acknowledged to this day.

BECKY: That was not a deception. It was a state secret.  Two different things.

...Then there was Israel's secret assistance to apartheid South Africa, including still-unacknowledged assistance in creating and testing a nuclear weapon. There was Israel's manipulation of events leading to the Six Day War, a war Israel knew it could handily win for great gains (see my March, 2003, article, Was Einstein Right? ).

 BECKY:  The UN determined the 1967 war was a defensive war on the part of the Israelis. The Arab armies massed on its borders and The Voice of the Arabs proclaimed (May 18, 1967):

     "As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to

      protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more.  We shall not complain

      any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against

      Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of the Zionist's


On May 20, 1967, Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad announced that

     "the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation."

Egyptian President Gamal Nasser said on May 27, 1967 "Our objective will be the destruction of Israel."


 ...There was Israel's attempt to sink the U.S.S. Liberty, an American spy ship, during the Six Day War, an event never meaningfully explained but likely intended to prevent evidence of atrocities against captured Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai being recorded.

BECKY: That was a fluke. If he American govt. was satisfied, why isn't Chuckman?  

 ....A large group of Israeli spies was arrested after 9/11, but their extensive activities in the United States leading up to that event have never been explained.

BECKY: Chuckman crosses over into downright falsehood here.  A group of VERY YOUNG Israelis WERE arrested when found videotaping the tragedy and acting very hyped up.  Thousands of people videotaped 9/11.  Virtually anyone in the area with a camera videotaped the WTC.  They were not spies. They were just goofy college students. They were held for three weeks and released.

....Only a few weeks ago, before its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, Israel mounted an effort claiming the munition which wiped out a Palestinian family on a Gaza beach belonged to someone else, when in fact a collected scrap of casing clearly showed its American origin, a type of munition not made available to anyone else in the region.

BECKY:  A scrap collected by Hamas supporters is suspect evidence.  On June 22nd, the pro-Palestinian organization, B'Tselem, retracted their claim of Israeli culpability.

"The statistics (of deaths) relate to the period of 20/05/2006 21/06/2006, and do not include the members of the Ghaliah family, in regard to whom B'Tselem cannot currently confirm with certainty who is responsible for their deaths."

....All gangs and individuals who rudely remind Israel that it really does live in a bad neighborhood are simply flattened, but flattening the perpetrators is never enough. Always Israel takes the lives of innocents and destroys their property, believing that such ruthlessness eventually will intimidate everyone around into a zombie-like peace, but this is simply another delusion.

BECKY:  Those gangs and individuals have taken a lot of innocent Israeli civilian lives over the years.  For Chuckman, Jewish lives lost simply don't count.  Those "gangs" TARGET civilians. Israel never has and never will.

....The logic of Israel's behavior taken to its limit would have a two- or three-hundred mile perimeter around Israel's border (whatever that is) bulldozed and paved over. This would certainly provide complete security, but it is utter fantasy, just as impossible as the destruction of Israel.

BECKY: No one in Israel has proposed this. But shouldn't the Lebanese control their own border?

....What is the solution in the Middle East? It is found in so simple an act as Israel's dealing fairly with its neighbors and negotiating to sort things out. Israel has never yet done this. It presents only an iron wall, bristling with weapons. When breakthroughs do come, as with the Oslo Accords, Israel's establishment quietly ignores them or works actively against them while still talking about peace.

BECKY:  Chuckman turns reality on its ear. It was the inability of the Palestinians to give up violence against Israelis that caused the breakdown.  How do you negotiate with people who's only goal is to exterminate you?

....Israel has all the advantages. It has advanced weapons. It has great-power guarantees. It has billions of dollars in assistance every year. It has unmatched access to American intelligence and government. By comparison, Hamas and Hezbollah are pretty anemic forces.

BECKY:  Hezbollah is funded with $100 million a year from Iran. Hamas gets funding from the Arab league. These forces are quite dangerous.

....Organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas owe their very existence to Israel's past behavior. Hezbollah flourished as a guerrilla force opposing Israel's previous invasion of Lebanon and its long-term partial occupation. It served also as an important charity in the midst of chaos. Hamas was created with the deliberate help of Israeli intelligence, intending to create a rival for the PLO and introduce instability into Palestinian politics.

BECKY: It's true that the Israeli govt. helped to set up Hamas. But long ago, when Hamas embraced terrorism, that Israeli support ended. Both owe their existence to intense Jew-hatred and a belief that any land that was EVER under Islamic control (and Palestine was conquered in the 7th century by Islamics) remains Islamic homeland and must be kept out of the hands of infidels (non-Muslims.)

....When Hamas was elected recently as part of the government of Palestine, it was only after innumerable excuses from Israel for not meeting with Abbas and after imprisoning and threatening Arafat for several years before his death. How are Palestinians to deal with an Israel that always has an excuse for not negotiating, for not even speaking, to its government? Israel has now kidnapped the cabinet of an elected government, but this is quietly supported by Bush,s democracy-loving mob.

BECKY: Hamas charter calls for the elimination of the Jewish State, the driving of the Jews from "Palestine", and the establishment of an Islamic state. Hamas leaders, once elected, vowed no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of the right of Israel to exist, and that they would not honor agreements signed by previous PA administrators.

Now the charge is ISRAEL wouldn't MEET with them?  Now the charge is that ISRAEL won't recognize the legitimately elected government? Hamas militants tunneled under the international border into pre-1967 sovereign Israeli territory, seized (captured/kidnapped) one 19 yr-old corporal, killed two IDF, and injured 4 more.  The Hamas govt., rather than use their forces to retrieve and return the soldier, urged the kidnappers to hold out for their ransom.  Israel considered this an act of war, with the Hamas legislators the perpetrators. 

....Israel wants us to accept the simplistic assertion that organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas are proof of Islamist determination to destroy Israel. So long as this is the accepted view, greatly over-simplifying a truly complex situation, there can be no understanding and no sensible approach to peace. Refusing even to talk with the democratically-elected Hamas government....

BECKY: The same government that in January announced it refused to talk to the Israeli government.

....and cutting it off from all connections and revenues was an act of war in response to party slogans. You can't build peace on fantasy.

BECKY:  ...revenues that would go to fund terrorist actions against Israel....

....I said Israel could not be destroyed by anyone, but there is an important exception to that statement: Israel could well be destroyed by itself.

BECKY: No! The 20 Arab/Muslim countries that refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, the suicide bombers, the lynchings of "collaborators" with Israel, the constant rocket attacks, and now the kidnappings of its soldiers are somehow, magically NOT A THREAT to Israel.  The Iranians who are waging a proxy war against Israel are feverishly building nuclear weapons which they have already announced will be used to "wipe Israel off the map" are NOT A THREAT to Israel.

NO, according to Chuckman, it is Israel's attempts at self-defense that pose the greatest threat!! 

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

BECKY: ....where he is safely away from Hezbollah rocket attacks or Islamic Jihad suicide bombers.