Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ah, Israel, the holy land, light unto the nations! Barely a month after valiantly killing 1300 Gazans, maiming and wounding thousands more, and leaving the rest for dead in an open-air prison, Israel has stood up for its right to stand up to other people's rights by forming its most hawkish possible government. A lesser nation might have wavered in the face of a merciless Palestinian onslaught of pleading and stump-waving, but Israel realizes this is a war between good and evil, right and wrong, civilization and those too poor to afford civilization. True, it's far from a fair fight - Israel has a mere three hundred nuclear warheads while the Palestinians have countless rocks to throw - but somehow the pluck and determination of this scrappy regional superpower has prevailed over the deadly horde of orphans, beggars and amputees who threaten to live next to it.

Israel's critics will forever bicker over the spilled milk of Israeli policy - a few thousand homes demolished here, a few thousand corpses over there - but we must allow that Israel has a right to defend itself, and we must also allow that defending itself necessarily entails the indiscriminate bombing of thousands of screaming refugees. After all, if an implacable terrorist enemy had been launching rockets at one of your villages, wouldn't you do everything in your power to stop them? And once those same implacable terrorist enemies agreed to a cease-fire, wouldn't you break that cease-fire by bombing them and their families, reasoning that they are, after all, implacable terrorist enemies, and not to be trusted? And when you went to bomb those terrorists and their families, wouldn't you also bomb everyone and everything around them, reasoning that only a terrorist would live near, go to school with, or be hospitalized in the same vicinity as a terrorist? And when you went to bomb everything around them, wouldn't you be sure to plan that bombing months before the event that nominally precipitated it? And before planning that massive bombing campaign, wouldn't you be sure to cut the entire population off from terrorist food, militant medicine, and jihadist electricity for months in advance? And when that population retaliated against your pre-retaliation retaliation by launching rockets at one of your villages, wouldn't that merely confirm their nature as implacable terrorist enemies who must be destroyed at any cost?

Yes, we may be tempted to mourn the civilian dead, but in killing those civilians, isn't Israel merely protecting itself against future terrorists who would otherwise go on to retaliate against Israel for the deaths of their children? And yes, we may be tempted to mourn the deaths of the children, but in killing those children, isn't Israel simply preemptively taking out future militants who would otherwise grow up to avenge the deaths of their parents? As much as we might all yearn for peace, history has shown that Palestinians understand only violence. Well, violence and Arabic, but Arabic is notoriously difficult to learn, while most of us can become fluent in violence in just under a semester.

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posted by the Medium Lobster at 11:38 AM

perhaps Israel could take a lesson from our own Western expansion. you can lead the savages to a poisoned water supply, but you can't make them drink.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 1:55 PM
or something like that.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 1:56 PM
true, they are no worse than us. we're just lucky CNN didn't exist in the 19th century.

as a jew and a zionist though, the situation in gaza is a disaster, even putting aside the moral issue and just thinking strategically. do they really think they can bomb palestinians into submission? ask an israeli how many bombs it would take for them to give up the land, and i'm sure the palestinian answer would be the same.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 2:31 PM
Bombing, schmomming, there are parliamentary elections to win. Once that's over with, we can get back to good old fashioned West Bank manifest destiny, bringing cake and flowers to good little Arabs everywhere.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 3:16 PM
I used to think this conflict was too complex for your average American yahoo (me) to understand. Later, once I pretty much understood the basics, I decided that it was too depressing to think about. But then, later than that, everything got too depressing to think about... so now it really just sort of combines with a lot of other things and makes me cry a lot, which makes me hungry. So I've been eating a lot of pizza.
That's an awful lot of questions and I come here for answers.

Let me think about it.

OK, back.

by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 19, 2009 9:06 PM
Violence 101 is a whole friggin semester? I thought it was just a couple weekends.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 20, 2009 12:35 AM
Bring on Bibi!
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 20, 2009 7:41 AM
I quarrel only with use of the word "nominally," at which point your ironic mask slips for an interminable millisecond.

Aside from that, this tirade is sadly all true. Personally I am yearning for the good old days when I was scorned for being a Jew by well-off people whose constant subsurface anger had become familiar to me, like the smell of mud flats at low tide. I disliked those people intensely, but we lived with each other, which, in retrospect, is something.

Now many Jews have turned into the same kind of angry people. Worse, many of them work side by side with right-wingers. I don't believe I will ever get used to that. It's really too bad, too too bad.
Israel is a national self imposed ghetto. The wall keeps the ghetto.

Israel fears Palestinian wombs and the birth of babies hence the killing.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 20, 2009 5:49 PM
You all know Ben Stiller, an actor so Jewish he's played a rabbi - but did you know his mother, Ann Meara, was originally from an Irish Catholic background?

In the movie The Zero Effect, Stiller has these lines, which are directly relevant to the Zionist struggle:

There aren't evil guys and innocent guys. It's just... It's just... It's just a bunch of guys.

As they say, the truth is hidden by its extreme unlikelihood.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 20, 2009 8:40 PM
Well, I suppose that theoretically Fluency in Violence takes a semester. But, where I come from, teaching violence is a monopoly of the for-profit entertainment industry. Adults are forbidden the use of physical discipline because it might teach violence to children, infringing on the corporate monopoly. By the time we got to Fluent V. ccertification we just threatened to rape the teacher, and key his car, and we was out of there with our certification in, like, 27 minutes - man.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 21, 2009 10:25 AM
Let's start over...

There are no Palestinians, there are no Israelis, there are only children of God, in the Middle East and elsewhere.

With one father, Abraham, so seem they very intent on involving many others worldwide with their ancient sibling rivalry.

Why? What useful purpose does violence ever serve?

The way to peace is to live it.

There is no other way.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 22, 2009 4:38 AM
Brilliant stuff. You need to pass that Violence class to nab a Beltway job later on - being "serious" there means you're willing to punch hippies and bomb the crap out of people (brown is preferable).
Dear Medium Lobster: Could I request or suggest that the links be coloured a more Medium Blue? As is they are a little hard to make out, at least on my monitor. But many of those links are not to be missed.

(P.S.: that was word for word the best piece I've read on this.)
I wasn't going to say anything until I found my drunk test word was "muchme"....

Obviously, obviously, obviously, there should be no such thing as a Jewish State. Or globalize Buddhism for crapsakes.
In my limited perception
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 22, 2009 8:50 PM
Monotheism brings out the worst in people -
It may take a semester to learn violence but it takes only one, two hours tops to learn basic ham.

Unfortunately, like language, it becomes more difficult to learn ham the older you get.

If we immerse the Canaanites in ham things will change. Things will change.
Hamites. Yum.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 23, 2009 10:39 PM
o most medium of lobsters, i have to admit i'm somewhat disappointed by your explanation here.

i think it misses the true moral question in this conflict, which is the lesson that difference between shiny moral goody-good violence and dirty squirrel-rabies evil violence comes down entirely to a question of control systems.

you see, the israelis have cool modern weapons, like missiles that can accurately target the homes of notorious self-confessed palestinians, despite having to plow through the mobs of children playing on the street outside. or they can seek and destroy all the police stations in palestinian territory, reinforcing the israeli complaint that the palestinians are unable to police their own! then they have tanks and bulldozers that can drive straight to a palestinian city and knock it down in an afternoon. because all of these things have state-of-the-the-art guidance systems.

(OK, so the cluster bombs don't, but they're still made by very cool tony-stark-like dudes...)

the palestinians, though, what do they have? rockets with no guidance at all, so they just land wherever. like 95% of the can't even hit a town. and rocks. and as everyone knows, ineffective is the same as bad, which is the same as evil. and lack of control is just another way of saying immoral.

i rest my case.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 24, 2009 12:16 AM
Myself a Jew, but one who instinctively recoiled from Zionism from an early age, the Gaza war gave me a chance, through the Internet, of plumbing the depths of the American Zionist's thinking. They have, as long as they are not within arms reach, no compunction about expressing themselves.
And now I'm sorry I ever bothered to look. Zionism is bad news, Israel is worse, and everything I learn about it makes me more depressed.
However, I have yet to discover the Yiddish equivalent of Gotterdamarung. But I'm thinking I will before it's over.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 25, 2009 12:10 PM
I agree with anonymous.

Seriously, I agree with the anonymous poster who "recoiled from Zionism from an early age." Despite being from a (non-religious) Jewish family, I knew almost nothing about Zionism until one day a high school friend described her trip to Israel during the prior summer. She had been very disturbed to see the young people there regarding real hand grenades and rifles as being like fun toys.

It seems to me that most of the good qualities I associate with being Jewish came directly out of the experience of the Diaspora. Once that was no longer a factor, it appears that sticking up for the underdog stopped being a decisive force among Jews. Just my theory.
Living with violence every day takes away your perspective about how killing is wrong. No one who wants to kill all the "other guys" is right, no one.

I think that this round of violence is wrong, but I thought that all the others were, as well. Sorry that's not funny.
It seems this mine is tapped out. Let's move on to other pressing matters. Like should Michelle Obama or Giblets or people under white phosphorus attack be wearing sleeveless dresses?
by Anonymous Anonymous, at February 27, 2009 7:53 PM
I read the Bible daily MoGo in speculative investments. Language is the stack tomato sandwich for lunch, but our people are looking in the 60s, when 20th century, the worship of the flesh of Jesus Christ, He will judge the living and honor the deceased. Do not eat lard. The reading of the Bible.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at March 01, 2009 6:43 PM
"reasoning that only a terrorist would live near, go to school with" I read this and a thought came to me: Arabian children learning how to shoot a rifle bigger than them or Arabian pregnant girls killing other Arabian girls while Allah is waiting for them in an incredible oasis...
by Anonymous Anonymous, at March 06, 2009 6:10 PM
How do the Chinese spammers and poets and bible thumpers (indeed, we see all three above) get past the "word verification" step? Weird.
I'm agreeing with Ralph and anonymous. One of my Palestinian friends has been looking into the diaspora story, by the way, since it's an important component of the foundational myth of Israel.

I see the diaspora story to be one of a plucky minority determined to preserve their culture. According to some, this minority was not all descending from the original diaspora, but included conversions and assimilations into the Jewish minority. This doesn't make me admire my Jewish forbears the less - it makes me hate Zionist insistence on return to the homeland more. Judaism does not need a homeland, a holy land or a religious state.

Also this new spam is annoying but fairly soothing as well.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at March 07, 2009 7:21 AM
what's with all the spam? I never understand what the spambots are trying to achieve. Good article fafblog, very good for a poor confused beastie like me.

(By the way Montag are you the montag of the pakistani taxi driver?)
(By the way Montag are you the montag of the pakistani taxi driver?)

no...? of course i wouldn't rule it out, but i don't think so.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at March 09, 2009 7:45 AM
Happy Pi day to you...
Happy Pi day to youuuu.
Happy Pi day, happy Pi day, happy Pi day to you!!!

Please sir? may we have some pie?
This is pointed & well-written... and tricky to read because of the non-wrapping spam comments. I had to copy out the text to read it.

Which I suspect is the point of the "spam".

Anyway, you can fix this problem in the future with a few tweaks to your blogger template.... If you need a hand, let me know; I can figure out what CSS to change.
Over at "I Miss Pie, Spot!"

we were in search of a universal truth to live by, and I commented:

I also disagree that "pleasure" is the ultimate subject of moral enquiry. As was stated at the beginning of a tv show I watched as a child, the highest values are "the pursuit of truth, justice, and the potentially sentient way" [paraphrased to reflect my 21st century sensibility].

And speaking of which, maybe you saw the March 27th appearance of William Greider on Bill Moyers' PBS show. They said, in part:

BILL MOYERS: I read just this morning that there’s a nation wide grassroots protest planned for April 11th [2009]. … They’re young people who want to take on banking reform, and reform the financial systems, as a campaign, an ongoing witness.

WILLIAM GREIDER: I know. They call themselves A New Way Forward….

Young people are part of my optimism. They smart kids, want to be engaged in their times, see the injustices of their society. And they don’t quite trust the great, big existing organizations. And with some good reason, as you know. And particularly, they’re not totally sold on the Democratic Party as the vessel of reform.

So they’re now engaged in putting together the 11, 12, I’m sure they’d like to have 50, little bonfires around the country. These demonstrations. There’s going be one in Washington and one in Wall Street, and a number of other cities. I think if people do those things with or without any help from big organizations, that collectively becomes the voice that tells Washington, we’re on to your silly ideas that Wall Street wants you to do about reform. We see through them. And we have some ideas of our own. And we’re going to come talk to you, and if you decline to talk to us, we’re going to come after you. That’s the voice of democracy speaking.
I will be eating lobster every day until you boys post a new entry in this blog. If you get my drift.
by Anonymous rapier, at April 01, 2009 7:32 PM
Hey guys - I was just looking at the new comments and discovered that my word verification was "porshe".

There should be a "c" in there.
So you guys got your bailout money and split. Probably to your own island where you will probably still pretend to care about the people of Palatine, and Arlington Heights too I suppose.

It makes me sick.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at May 02, 2009 12:41 PM
The next transit of Venus will occur on June 5–6 in 2012. See the following post for details.
by Anonymous aa, at May 03, 2009 12:03 AM
Back to save the universe is beginning to taste like irony.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at May 22, 2009 8:45 AM
Enough of the nonsense. Where is Mr. Giblets? And don't say there aren't enough topics in recent proximity to warrant at least a dozen pies on Friday! Gidda move on...

Love ya, faf. Please come back soon.
by Anonymous spring fever, at May 28, 2009 3:43 AM
drag blugger to hell.
by Anonymous Anonymous, at May 30, 2009 10:17 AM
Where art thou, Fafnir?
by Anonymous Anonymous, at June 02, 2009 11:28 AM
Myself a Jew, but one who instinctively recoiled from Zionism from an early age, the Gaza war gave me a chance, through the Internet, of plumbing the depths of the American Zionist's thinking. They have, as long as they are not within arms reach, no compunction about expressing themselves.
And now I'm sorry I ever bothered to look. Zionism is bad news, Israel is worse, and everything I learn about it makes me more depressed.
However, I have yet to discover the Yiddish equivalent of Gotterdamarung. But I'm thinking I will before it's over.
Damn! that kid don't know what to do.
It's a grave situations..


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