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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:50 PM
Original message

Henry Siegman

Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza: that Hamas consistently violated the six-month truce that Israel observed and then refused to extend it; that Israel therefore had no choice but to destroy Hamass capacity to launch missiles into Israeli towns; that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, part of a global jihadi network; and that Israel has acted not only in its own defence but on behalf of an international struggle by Western democracies against this network.

I am not aware of a single major American newspaper, radio station or TV channel whose coverage of the assault on Gaza questions this version of events. Criticism of Israels actions, if any (and there has been none from the Bush administration), has focused instead on whether the IDFs carnage is proportional to the threat it sought to counter, and whether it is taking adequate measures to prevent civilian casualties.

Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDFs Gaza Division. In an interview in Haaretz on 22 December, he accused Israels government of having made a central error during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues, General Zakai said, it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress theyre in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.

The truce, which began in June last year and was due for renewal in December, required both parties to refrain from violent action against the other. Hamas had to cease its rocket assaults and prevent the firing of rockets by other groups such as Islamic Jihad (even Israels intelligence agencies acknowledged this had been implemented with surprising effectiveness), and Israel had to put a stop to its targeted assassinations and military incursions. This understanding was seriously violated on 4 November, when the IDF entered Gaza and killed six members of Hamas. Hamas responded by launching Qassam rockets and Grad missiles. Even so, it offered to extend the truce, but only on condition that Israel ended its blockade. Israel refused. It could have met its obligation to protect its citizens by agreeing to ease the blockade, but it didnt even try. It cannot be said that Israel launched its assault to protect its citizens from rockets. It did so to protect its right to continue the strangulation of Gazas population.

Henry Siegman, director of the US Middle East Project in New York, is a visiting research professor at SOAS, University of London. He is a former national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America.
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Duckhunter935 Donating Member (777 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. Did you know
That rockets were still launched every month of the CEASE FIRE, Israel did allow some additional supplies in during the cease fire but not nearly enough.

What Israel did was wrong and what Hamas has done is also wrong, Both sides of this mess just need to grow up
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Correction it was not a cease fire at least according
to someone or two

pelsar (1000+ posts) Fri Jan-23-09 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. what nov 4 was all about....

for those who actually accept the concept that the 'locals" can have an agreement that the "big white elitist western progressive" might not understand...i shall explain what probably happened.

the tahidya is based on the concept of "less shooting"..that means reduced actions and its a risk. When hamas still shoots a missile the tahidya will continue as long as it doesnt hit anything. If by pure chance it does hit a school and kill 10 kids, that is the end of the tahidya. If on the other hand israel sends over some jets and bombs a major building in gaza city, that too would end the tahidya.

so what is not understood by our "western culturaly superior progressives" is that a kidnapping by hamas (known as a "quality hit" in the local language) would also break the agreement, that leaves israel with the right to prevent such an event without breaking the tahidya....which is why the israeli raid on nov 4 on a tunnel that was directed toward israel, did not according to both israeli and Hamas sources break the "lull".

see it was a time of less shooting during which there was less shooting
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Broadslidin Donating Member (949 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. Is there an English word for "Religious Segregation...?
From the Oxford dictionary,
the word 'apartheid' refers to racial segregation.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. Bravo! I love honest people. Hero du jour - for me. Henry Siegman.
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 08:35 PM by higher class
180 - that's me - I am rethinking every year over decades that I backed Israel. At some point I supported the Palestinians equally. Now it's all tilted the other way around.

When I say supported the Palestinians, I mean the little people, not the top leaders, just as I didn't trust our Republican leaders over the same period of time and in the last eight years, certain Dem leaders.

If Israel is so macho about killing and propganda, they should just let their leaders dual the leaders of Hamas AND PLEASE LEAVE THE LITTLE PEOPLE OUT OF IT. WHY DO THESE PALESTINIANS HAVE TO SUFFER SO MUCH FROM THE ISREALI LEADERS?

Turning the head around is difficult after so many loyal years. Loyal until I got fed up with the eye for eye games. With Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria. Mature leaders should have seen the downfall of going down this juvenile path.

I am furious. This has to stop.

The excuses Israel is providing for this massacre and destruction disgust me.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I understand, I grew up the same way
I only heard the Israeli side and NEVER the fate of the Palestinians. Thank God I have learned so much from the Israeli Peace movement and authors like this over the last ten years. There is a reason Israel never addresses the peace process and keeps killing at their whim. But that would be the 'G' word which is not allowed here.
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PCIntern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. "Never" addresses the "peace process"
Jordan, Egypt....

The Israelis have made a peace process, if you want to call it that, with any country which offered its hand, for whatever incentives those countries had at the time and have today.

face it, the Palestinians have been tragically used as the front line by countries and groups who have no shame and no guts to take Israel on themselves. There WAS a two-state solution, but Trans-Jordan as it was conceived seems to have disappeared...maybe its with Bush's WMD's - under the lectern.
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Vegasaurus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. You're funny
"Killing at their whim".

Tell that to the 11 Million DEAD MUSLIMS families (killed by other Muslims).

I suppose you don't care about genocide when it is one people against themselves.

Now that is a true genocide.

11 million.

The pitiful 40,000 Palestinians that Israel has killed in the same time period is really pitiful genocide in comparison.
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pelsar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. the "g" word?
hmm i dont understand why iGnorence cant be mentioned here.....?

Guess you still dont understand....time to go back and actually read and learn what the israeli "peace movement" write about......
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GoesTo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
Henry Siegman is living proof that claiming expertise on the Middle East and acquiring a few titles related to the topic do not actually produce expertise on the Middle East. Formerly a "Mideast expert" at the Council on Foreign Relations and head of the American Jewish Congress, Siegmans commentary has appeared in many major media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the International Herald Tribune, The New York Review of Books and othersboth American and British.

An examination of his body of work reveals Siegmans analyses to be little more than thinly veiled propaganda promoting the Palestinian perspective on the conflict with Israel. Indeed, the commentary echoes the most extreme themes of the Palestinian narrative with the writer heaping shrill criticism on Israel while excusing Palestinian rejectionismeven when this requires repeatedly ignoring, fabricating and misrepresenting facts and routinely contradicting earlier assertions.

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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. From SourceWatch regarding CAMERA.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is a powerful Boston-based lobby group that tries to curb criticism of Israel in U.S. media.

Founded by Charles Jacobs in the wake of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, CAMERA claims to be "a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East". According to its website, it "systematically monitors, documents, reviews and archives Middle East coverage" and its staffers "directly contact reporters, editors, producers and publishers concerning distorted or inaccurate coverage, offering factual information to refute errors." <1>

According to its Executive Director, what sets it apart from other media watch-dog groups is its "sizable paying, activist membership." <2>

remainder here:
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GoesTo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Point: be skeptical of the skeptics who are being skeptical of the skeptics ...
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Looks as though CAMERA has a pattern of making accusations that are unfounded.
November/December 2001

The Illusion of Balance
NPR's coverage of Mideast deaths doesn't match reality

By Seth Ackerman

National Public Radio's coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been the target of criticism from all sides, especially since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000. One common complaint from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian critics is that NPR and other outlets downplay or ignore acts of violence by the "other side."

For example, a press release (8/12/01) from CAMERA, a conservative pro-Israel media watch group, accused NPR of skimming over the killing of a Jewish settler in a news report that focused on the funeral of a Palestinian Hamas activist killed by Israeli security forces. Similarly, Arab-American media critic Ali Abuminah (8/20/01) has criticized NPR for "cursory, inconsistent and wholly inadequate" coverage of Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

To examine these competing claims, FAIR studied NPR's coverage of Israeli-Palestinian violence, examining how often NPR reported fatal attacks on Israelis and Palestinians. The study looked at all NPR News coverage in the first six months of 2001 (1/1/01-6/30/01). For a description of FAIR's methodology as well as our complete data, see Study of NPR's Coverage of Deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

remainder here:
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. translation for the lazy and the willfully blind: Don't even attempt to examine
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 01:05 PM by shira
CAMERA's claims to see how credible they are against Seigman. Assume they're wrong and Siegman is right.


This is the shlock that passes for "new left" criticism. Same as the old and far right criticism. Complete drek.
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