December 30, 2008

The Case for Armageddon

The New York Times again gives space to the nutty Benny Morris. Benny Morris is a liar. That was never a problem in the home paper of Judith Miller. Benny Morris is also a white racist who openly supported ethnic cleansing and genocide in print. That is not a disqualification for the Times editors. After all, they also publish Thomas Friedman, Ethan Bronner, and dozen of others who could qualify, even if none is as explicit as Morris. Besides, if support for genocide were a disqualification, the whole Washington establishment would have to be banned from the op-ed page.

But Benny Morris is also certifiably nuts. He advocates that Israel go on a path that by his own claim leads straight to the apocalypse. If he were not Jewish, there is no way the Times would have allowed him out of the straight jacket, not to mention publish him. Can you imagine the Times allowing someone to make the case for a nuclear war against Russia? But if Israel wants to blow itself up together with all its neighbors in one last act of Zionist nihilism, the Times wouldn't want to discourage that. And that is what passes as being "pro-Israel" in the U.S.

(as for why Morris is a liar, white supremacist and insane, see my Diagnosing Benny Morris: The Mind of a European Settler and Imagine all the People, Living Like Mindless Lambs.)

Morris is again promoting the assured self-destruction of Israel and everybody.

I'll parse while pointing out the lies, misstatements and insanities.

To capture the reader's sympathy, Morris starts with recounting how Israelis felt about to be destroyed in the months leading to the 1967 war. Morris however fails to mention that in this they were deceived by the ruling junta and its official media. Thankfully, the L.A. Times published a short review of Tom Segev's book about 1967. And thankfully, the reviewer is Bacevich and not an American who served in the IDF. Here's Bacevich:
Segev bluntly dismisses the charge that they were plotting to destroy Israel: “[T]here was no existential danger to the state.” Drawing on Israeli and U.S. sources, he presents considerable evidence to support that judgment ... the decisive political relationship was not between rival parties but between the army and the government. In effect, that relationship tilted in favor of the Israel Defense Forces...In 1967, IDF senior officers, led by chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin, were hankering for war. They exuded confidence. Given half a chance, they were certain that they could defeat any combination of Arab armies. Throughout the spring, the generals pressed a reluctant Cabinet to unleash the IDF...Rabin and other IDF leaders based their argument for war on Israel’s need to project an image of a deeper level they embraced war as a means of demolishing once and for all the image of the Jew as weak, passive and dependent. Pressing for war, the generals saw themselves as Sabra warriors facing weak-spirited politicians” with one foot still in the shtetl. To members of the general staff, Rabin disparagingly referred to Eshkol and his ministers as “the Jews,”...(L.A. Times) (my emphasis)

1967 was just another war that happened because the Israeli ruling junta wanted war, not because of any of forbodings or "closing walls".
First, the Arab and wider Islamic worlds, despite Israeli hopes since 1948 and notwithstanding the peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994, have never truly accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s creation and continue to oppose its existence.
Well, maybe all these neighbors are trying to tell you something. Perhaps building a state on ethnic cleansing is not the best way to make lasting friendships. Could it be that joining France and Britain in an attack on Egypt in 1956 left some bitter taste in some people's mouths? Perhaps Dir Yassin, Qibia, and other monuments for Israel's contribution to peace were off-putting to at least some in the audience? Maybe 40 years of occupation and building settlements in the West Bank were not among the top ten Jewish contributions to the world? Perhaps invading Lebanon in 1982 to prevent the U.S. from recognizing the PLO was not as good a way of making new friends as a page on Facebook? Could it be that using Arafat's weakness to force even more settlements in the West Bank during Oslo was what we usually call "being too smart by half"? Perhaps shooting one million live bullets at unarmed demonstrators in 2000 was a bit "excessive"? Maybe allowing types like Baruch Goldstein to live in Hebron is not the kind of thing you do if you already have difficulties getting along with neighbors?

So many questions that Morris could ask, if he were interested in helping Israel NOT go down fighting in a blaze of fire. But I guess raising such a wimpish distaste for dramatic suicide puts me for Morris among those people young Rabin called "the Jews."
Second, public opinion in the West (and in democracies, governments can’t be far behind) is gradually reducing its support for Israel...
Allow me to take some tiny morsel of credit for that! I have had the privilege to be one of the many, many (including my fellows here at JSF) who have spent a good deal of their lives working to educate our fellow citizens on Israel's real record. It's been a long fight and we're far from the finish line. But it's nice to see the ground we have gained acknowledged in the paper of record. Encore un effort, les amis!
...the Arab states are increasingly powerful and assertive.
Really? which Arab states are powerful and assertive? Egypt, governed by sclerosis? The Playstation king of Jordan (copyright Angry Arab)? Iraq? Qatar? Did an actual historian wrote that idiotic sentence?
Iran is frantically advancing its nuclear project, which ... most of the world’s intelligence agencies believe is designed to produce nuclear weapons.
This is a white lie. First, very few of the world's intelligence agencies actually publish what they believe, so Morris has no way of knowing what "most" believe. As for those who do, the opposite is true. (but then, liers lie. what did you expect?)
To the south, Israel faces the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip and whose charter promises to destroy Israel and bring every inch of Palestine under Islamic rule and law.
And the leaders of that Islamic movement have all asserted their readiness to lay down their weapons on the basis of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders (although without recognizing Israel). Yet this Islamic movement has to its north a state that wouldn't accept any of the over dozen peace proposal offered by various Palestinian and Arab parties over the last sixty years and has shown nothing but consistent bad faith in every negotiation.
In November and early December, Hamas stepped up the rocket attacks and then, unilaterally, formally announced the end of the truce.
See my previous post below. Some important things happened before Hamas "stepped up the rocket attacks" that Morris is mum about, and that makes the whole sentence as truthful as Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman."
Over the past two decades, Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens have been radicalized, with many openly avowing a Palestinian identity and embracing Palestinian national aims. Their spokesmen say that their loyalty lies with their people rather than with their state, Israel.
Just a thought. Could that have anything to do with the fact that "their state" claims, officially, not to be their state, but rather the state of all the Jews in the world? Could it have something to do with how, in accordance with that "Jewish" nature, that state has for sixty years targeted them, expropriated them, immiserated them, whipped up racist sentiment against them, and discriminated against them in every imaginable way and a few that only an Israeli bureaucrat could imagine?

Nah! why would I think that? Maybe because of what Morris says next:
Demography, if not Arab victory in battle, offers the recipe for such a dissolution. The birth rates for Israeli Arabs are among the highest in the world, with 4 or 5 children per family (as opposed to the 2 or 3 children per family among Israeli Jews).
No point debating the racism. It is simply appalling that it appears in print in a paper whose readers describe themselves as "liberal." But consider this. The fertility rate of ultra orthodox Jews is above 7 children per woman, much higher than the Muslim fertility rate and probably a world record. Among school children the ultra orthodox in Israel are already approaching 18%, compared to Palestinians who make 28% of school children. Many secular Israelis (just 41% of school children) fear the ultra-orthodox ascendancy as much as they fear the Arab one. Indeed what secular Israelis fear most is the absolute certainty that their cultural hegemony and control of the state is soon to be over one way or another. Many Israeli parties have catered to that fear ( Meretz, Shinui, etc.). Funny how that demographic threat Morris leaves out. Is it because he knows which kind of racist sentiment is marketable to New York Times readers and which isn't?
Israel’s sense of the walls closing in on it has this past week led to one violent reaction. Given the new realities, it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.
From Morris's other writings (see my links above) I would assume that the omnious reference at the end is to nuclear war and genocide.

Here's an alternative:

Tear down those walls. Recognize the crimes you committed. Give back the loot. Open the borders. Commit to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.

And please please find a shrink who will help you manage that death wish you have in a way that is less destructive to people around you and to yourself.

(a hat tip to Adam Horowitz who also noted the mad historian.)


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