I Suppose “How Dare You?” Is A Question…


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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110 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    The overarching point is pertinent, agreed.

    That said I think the more specific case of Isreal this go round is troubling in the extreme. I am long past believing that Bibi has any plan at all other than remaining in power as PM at any cost regardless of the devastation he’s wreaking on Israel’s long (or even likely medium term) position.
    By all that is holy what does the man think he will accomplish if he discredits and destroys the administration of Abbas and the PA, a group that is quite literally advocating that diplomacy, security cooperation and coexistence with Israel will yield the Palestinians a state on the West Bank? Is the PA collapses who in the holy hell do Israeli wingers think will come to power? Some magic dancing Palestinian Santa who’ll be as materially friendly to Israel as Abbas has while also mouthing the warm fuzzy politically toxic and materially meaningless platitudes that Bibi and co demand?*

    And that’s without talking about moving forward with settlements in E1 bifurcating the Palestinian West Bank. The Israeli’s can count on the US, sure, but losing the entire EU and I mean losing in a serious sense like forclosing diplomatic contacts or opening the door to genuine trade restrictions? That is no small damned thing US or no. If only the Israeli electorate comes out of their stupor somehow… if only the Israeli left and middle would coalesce around a set of coherent policies and a leader. Madness, madness and stupidity.

    *I’m deluding myself of course. Bibi, Liberman and the Settlers all long for a Hamas like administration they can wage wholesale conflict with/against. The two state solution is toxic to them and it’s beginning to seem that they somehow believe that the demographic time bomb either doesn’t exist or can be resolved with some kind of abhorrent racial cleansing strategy.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

      I have issues with Bibi and wish that someone else were Prime Minister. But Bibi and his cohort are who the Israelis want*, and it’s their arses on the line. I’m not a neutral observer, though, being pretty much in the bag for Israel. (Which is why I tend not to enter the fray – better to listen to conversations with people that have an open mind.)

      * – To the best that we can make that determination with the Israeli election system, which I consider a cautionary tale against multi-party parliamentary systems.Report

      • Why are you in the bag? Historical reasons?Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Will Truman says:

        To accent WillT here: Israelis feel so threatened they’ve unified behind “right-wing” Netanyahu. Yes, he is “right-wing,” and we Americans have often viewed Israeli politics through our own prism, Likud [GOP] and Labor [Dem].

        But these are perilous times—these are times when madness rules—and Netanyahu is the only Churchill they have in sight. “Right-wing.”

        Any sane opponent would fear Israel’s nukes, but Israel’s existential enemies are at heart suicide bombers. How do you deter a suicide bomber? Answer that, and OK, I’m in, and so is Israel.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Any sane opponent would fear Israel’s nukes

          There’s no reason to, any more than Argentina had to fear the UK’s nukes during their Falklands idiocy.. Israel is not going to nuke sizable numbers of innocents.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Their survival depends on the fear they might.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              I thought you were saying they’ve concluded their survival depends not on that, because nukes won’t deter the suicidal (in fact, they won’t even deter any low-impact resistance force, because no one thinks any nuclear power would use nukes for that purpose – they’re not even good for that purpose; nukes are for deterring other nuclear powers: they exist now solely to ensure that no other power has a bigger boom than you and hence puts an asymmetric threat over your head that you can’t answer), but instead that their survival depends on… whatever it is they think Bibi offers them.

              Even if you’re talking about Iran here, you’re still wrong (by Israel’s lights); that’s why Israel is so concerned about Iran developing a capability: the fear that Iran thinks like you say, and is not deterrable by equal or greater force.

              The only way this statement is right is that you’re saying that Israel is wrong to prioritize that concern about Iran’s rationality to a point of policy-determination, and that you’re right about it, so that Israel’s survival depends on their willingness to use their nukes in the case of being attacked with a nuke (by Iran or anyone else). Well, actually, I think that’s right. But it also makes them different from precisely no other nuclear power on the planet.

              Otherwise, Israel’s (defined as it wants to define itself) survival depends primarily on successfully establishing a separate state for the Palestinians.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I’m not so certain of that as you are.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Suicide bombers are indeed terrible. People will always find a way to strike at their enemies if they want to so you can’t end the threat of suicide bombers. But they will not defeat Israel. Suicide is a desperate tactic that is meant to cause pain, not defeat a foe.

          There is plenty of disagreement in Israel. Israelis are not united behind Bibi like the Brits were with Churchill. There also did come a day for Churchill when he beliefs were out of step and wrong headed. He wanted to keep the Empire after WW2 even though the Brits didn’t have the money, desire or strength to do so and the rest of the empire wanted out.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak says:

            Exactly. The minute Hitler was off their doorstep, the ingrates threw Churchill out. So it goes. But at the moment, this is not that moment, hence Bibi.

            Suicide bombers are indeed terrible.

            Uh huh.Report

        • Israel has quite a few existential enemies, but the ones with bomb vests are the last of their problems.

          It’s a surreal day when I link to Jeffrey Goldberg approvingly, but his take on this matter is spot on.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            Yes I’m entirely with Goldberg on this. Though I think I started reading him after he wrote whatever my fellow liberals find abhorrent because he’s always seemed pretty on target in what he’s written since I’ve begun reading him.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          My problem is not with Netanyahu being right wing. He can wing about all he wants. My problem is with him blatantly prioritizing continuing his career as PM over Israel’s long term interests.

          My ancillary problem is that his wing has no answer to the most pertinent questions regarding their suicidal settlement policies. The Palestinians within the territory Israel controls are predictably going to outnumber the Jews within same said territory in the midterm future. The settlements are logistically hard and politically harder to remove and chain Israel to those non-jewish population centers. The more they expand the worse those problems become. At some point the Palestinians are going to logically conclude that the two state solution is a dead letter and begin campaigning for citizenship in Israel at which Israel can either become a non-Jewish majority state or an apartheid state.

          To this the Israeli right wing typically claps their hands over their ears and lalala’s or they say that once they’ve taken as much of the west bank as they want they can pile the unwanted Palestinians onto the scraps that are left and force Jordan to take them (aka soft ethnic cleansing) which of course is magical thinking of an astonishing order.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

            The settlements will be traded for the Palestinians yielding “the right of return.” Israel has already demonstrated the blueprint.


            Peace when they want it. Behave yourselves for a few years instead of launching rockets at us daily, and show you’re a partner in peace. But the problem is the Palestinians can create no government strong enough to discipline its crazies. It cannot become a partner in peace as Egypt and Jordan did.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              That’s the centrist and left wing plan but it’s been adamantly opposed by Bibi (he’s even on the record bragging about how he undermined Oslo in the late 90’s. How many rockets have been flying out of the West Bank? And if the settlements are so blasely going to be traded away then why expand them and create more of them? Bibi’s entire current administration survives on the basis of support for the settlements. He’d be out on his keister if he crossed that constituency and he knows it. Hell he’s on the record
              Sure trading the settlements is the idea, but they get harder and harder to remove every day and the entanglement with the West Bank gets worse with every new one put in.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to North says:

                Bibi only had to keep his mouth shut to undermine Oslo; Arafat did it for him the week after the signing when he went on PA radio and announced Oslo was “the greatest deception”, a part of the Phased Plan of 1974 only.

                The problem with the whole scenario is that there is no, and has not been, a valid partner for creating peace ever since the pan-Arabists stole the land that was supposed to be Palestine in 1949.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A. says:

                Arafat opened his mouth: this is how you know Arafat was lying. He lied about that too, it’s important not to cherrypick with him.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to M.A. says:

                Oh I agree Arafat was a crook and a shyster but he had an ally in the Israeli right which adamantly didn’t want the deal and Bibi actively frustrated the Israeli side of it.

                Be that as it may Abbas is no Arafat and the Israeli’s will discover to their enormous woe just how much of a friend Abbas was if Bibi’s clowns succeed in destroying the PA and all that security cooperation vanishes.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              So, apparently the solution is to THROW GOBS OF MONEY at Palestine’s military wing? Ala Egypt?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          How did Russia deter the suicide bombers? By giving them what they wanted, of course.
          Now we need not give people EVERYTHING, but it’s been a long time since we’ve had political suicide bombers in America either.

          Maybe Israel might want to take a think?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          This the same bibi that told his fucking sugar daddy that he was such a pussy he wouldn’t dare make any consequences for bibi’s meddling in another country’s politics??

          Seriously, CHURCHILL? Churchill would never have bit the hand that feeds him.

          When you’re a fucking welfare state, you don’t piss off your sugar daddy.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will, I’m similarily in the bag for Israel, they’re a modern western state and I have friends who live there so of course I’m partial. That said one cannot help but be exasperated at how badly they’re undermining their own position with this. If one looks at someone sitting on a branch sawing through it and says “Good lord man, you’re going to plummet if you keep going” does that make them against that man?Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    In as much as its in Israel’s interests to have as much international support as possible recent developments are bad for them. It behoves the US to tell its good buddy Israel that everybody else thinks they have a giant piece of food stuck in their teeth. Now to us of course we are always going to think Israel looks great no matter what they look like. But friends need to be honest with each other. Some people will make the point that that a client state, the US, shouldn’t mouth off to our patron, Isreal, but still bros need to be their for each other.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

      I… think that there is a reason that they have ceased caring all that much what the rest of the world thinks. The US could, of course, would have much to gain internationally by no longer taking the side that it does. But I don’t consider “but the rest of the world is voting against you” to be a compelling argument beyond that. Certainly not a compelling moral argument.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Israel needs one country to support it. I suppose a U.S.-friendly Egyptian government wouldn’t hurt, but really, it needs one country.

        Also, 350+ thousand settlers in the West Bank have more pull in Israeli Politics than Europe does.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

          Well, Europe might actually think about supporting Israel, if it didn’t have America to hide behind.
          Israel needs one country with veto power in the UN to support it.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        From a strategic point of view having allies is better. Israel has put itself in the position of being completely dependent on US being a tame servant. There are good reasons to think that isn’t going to change. In the medium to long term though it leaves them vulnerable to a change in our policies, which does happen every now and then.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

          Perhaps. If they lose the US, though, I’m not sure how much it matters whether they have a tiny amount of international support or if they work there way up to a marginal amount. I think those are the possibilities they’re looking at.Report

      • Israel is the only state in the world whose existence is at question, and is subject to annihilation. [Tibet, now dead and dead.] The rules and mores of the rest of the world do not apply.

        If you would not cheat this stupid and dishonest game to save your life and the life of your family and your people, well, you would, unless you’re some alien freak.

        I must say that although AP “reporter” Matthew Lee doesn’t even bother to hide his antipathy toward Israel, I liked his hard edge vs. the administration’s spokesman. If only the press were that tough across the board.

        But did he ever pull that shit with Arafat, or the mullahs or the terrorists? That I’d like to see that, big man. Punking some gal from the admin who can’t hit back [and I thought she held her own, all things considered] is bullying and it is bullshit until you do it to everybody who’ll smack you back.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Yes, the nation with nukes is totally at risk of existence from a bunch of guys with slightly souped up model rockets.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Israel is safe from losing a war. They have nukes and the most powerful conventional army and air force in the region. Demographics are their enemy. Without a long term solution to their demographic problem their are in deep do do.Report

        • The easiest way to wipe Israel off the map is to make it cease to be a Jewish majority democracy.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          You mean the existence of the Palestenian state is not subject to even more question?Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to Murali says:

            There already is one; it’s called Jordan. The British divided the “Mandate of Palestine” in 1923 into 2 zones, “Palestine” and “Transjordan”, with Jews henceforth restricted to only immigrate to “Palestine.”

            Then came the pogroms, when the pan-Arabists were beginning to gain power in Arab society; Hebron 1929, the 1936-39 “Arab Revolt” against the British were some of the worst. And then came World War 2, including the Grand Mufti allying with Hitler to recruit Arabs for the SS brigades.

            The ugly truth, spelled out plain:

            The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.” – Zahir Muhsein, PLO leader of the as-Saiqa faction.

            The pan-Arabists pulled one of the dirtiest tricks in the world; not only did they steal the land that was supposed to be “Palestine” from the 1947 partition plan, the pan-Arabists then stuffed the “Palestinians” the extant villagers, into concentration camps on the land that was supposed to be theirs in the first place.

            60+ years of propaganda later, here we are, arguing as if that didn’t happen.Report

            • Avatar Murali in reply to M.A. says:

              Apart from the quote, which is by a pan Arab-ist within theBaathist (pan Arabist) faction of the PLO, (which while not necessarily small is still smaller than Fatah the dominant faction which is not pan Arabist) you don’t really have a case for Jordan being the real palestenian state. Or for Palestenians being some artificial creation of a Pan Arab-ist conspiracy.

              Of course a pan-Arabist who is part of a Syrian Baathist faction will say that Palestine is not real and is merely tactical. Otherwise all you have is Pan-Arabists from Jordan and elsewhere oppressing Palestenians in a number of ways and further appropriating their land.

              Edit: How is it again that you’ve got an uncontested Palestinian state?Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Eritrea. Basque. Half a dozen regions in Spain.
          “existence”. Ha,.
          Oh, should I start in on China next? I mean, we WERE just talking suicide bombers.

          Or don’t you bother to read about anything the press doesn’t bother reporting on?

          How about ICELAND, for that matter? It’s basically been sold off by now, hasn’t it?Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Punking some gal from the admin who can’t hit back [and I thought she held her own, all things considered] is bullying and it is bullshit until you do it to everybody who’ll smack you back.

          I may be wrong and maybe the foreign policy specialists here can back me up, but the US Ambasador to the UN is not some girl in Admin who can’t fight back. The fact is, regardless of the mis-steps of Matthew Lee with his other countries think so stuff, the US doesn’t have a moral leg to stand on here.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I support Israel because Israel is pro-choice.Report

  4. Avatar Mr. Blue says:

    When whites feel guilty about being white, they take it out on low-status whites. When the west feels guilty about being the west, well we can always take it out on that struggling Jewish country in the middle east. Somebody must pay for our guilt.Report

  5. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Yes, because non-voting member status to a state that everyone (ostensibly including the US government) think should eventually be a nation-state and have self-determination is the equivalent of jumping off a bridge.Report

  6. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Lee certainly didn’t phrase everything well, and I agree that he has a tone of “how dare the U.S. take a different stance. But I thought the following was a perfectly legitimate, even an important, question:
    doesn’t this ever give anybody any pause that your ‘principled stance’ isn’t seen as a principled stance by the rest of the world, it’s seen as an obstacle.Report

  7. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Until the last three words, I thought this post was going to be about the War on Drugs.Report

  8. Avatar Murali says:

    @Shazbot and James Hanley:

    I am continuing the thread here because nesting is getting to be a bitch


    Listen to the Podcast. Nozick is not representative of academic libertarianism


    Justice as it is used nowadays refers to the sum total of moral constraints as they apply to social and political institutions. Given that moral and political philosophy is fundamentally theoretical (at the Normative side of enquiry) a lack of theory amounts to a lack of evidence in empirical matters.Report

  9. Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    I am of Jewish descent, so my sympathies lie with Israel. That said, I agree that Bibi is awful for Israel. The settlement expansion should have stopped decades ago.

    I’m not too much in favor of “land for peace” — After getting one peace, the Palestinians can start up again until they get the next peace and so on. “Right of return” is also out, for reasons stated above. That somewhat leaves me baffled as to what to do — but the current policies (at least for Hamas and Israel) are nonsensical.

    But US policy should be to at least diminish (but not necessarily stop) the flow of funds to Israel. Tie future funding to positive steps toward peace. I guess that makes me an anti-Semite. Sigh.Report

  10. Avatar DRS says:

    I’m pretty much in agreement with William Saleten’s column in Slate on this issue:


    It takes real effort to alienate so many countries on such an important issue. Netanyahu’s brinksmanship is not making friends, and small countries surrounded by enemies do not have the luxury of friendlessness. Who was it who said that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity? (I think it was Edward Said but am not sure.) Well, if the Palestinians start learning from their mistakes and getting smarter and more creative, Israel’s current strategy is going to become an even bigger problem than it already is.Report