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« Learning to Live with a Likud Government | Main | Guess Who's Coming to SA »

June 10, 2009

Comments

Sun

South Africa aint gonna spend no dollars on research into what makes the Sudanese Arabs hate, disposses and kill black (Muslim) Sudanese now will they?

Maybe even a proper funding of research into what lay behind the xenophobic hatred last year. No siree.

It's all controlled by the Muslims.

David Zinn

. What rot and hogwash.
Not that you'll be able to provide a satisfactory answer, but let me ask you this, Sun. Just because Sudan has a horrendous human rights record does that magically exculpate Israel from any and all abuses against the Palestinians? Ditto for the question of "xenophobic hatred" in South Africa, and on and on.

What is "It's all controlled by the Muslims" supposed to mean? Or are you just mouthing off prototypical anti-Muslim hatred, seemingly a fixture of the pro-Israel squad?

Once again, as with all bad news, the Zionist brigade shoot the messenger, rather than examine the message. That Israel is a colonialist, deeply racist and apartheid-style state is plainly obvious to anyone who knows anything about the country and isn't a rabid right wing pro-Israel apologist. It's not for nothing that Jimmy Carter called his book 'Palestine: Peace not apartheid', or that a number of black journalists in this country have gone to Israel and concluded that the situation for Palestinians is in many respects worse than it was for black people under apartheid.

I find it interesting that people like John Dugard are described as "ideologues" because they take "anti-Zionist positions", which suggests that to be pro-Zionist one would be free of ideology. This really tells me all I need to know about the sort of mindset that underpins this website.

Mike Berger is also clearly a liar, or at least a gullible fool, as Ahmadinejad never ever proposed "the elimination of Israel as we know it". The mainstream media incorrectly reported that he had threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" which was a woefully inaccurate translation of the Farsi. In fact, this language has no such expression. Ahmadinejad was quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini who once said that he hopes that "the Zionist regime in Israel vanishes from the pages of history". There's a massive difference between this and hoping for some genocidal elimination of all Jews. He was basically saying, and by extension so was Ahmadinejad, that the State of Israel as it is now constituted must change, a sentiment which I and all humane people throughout the world share. Just as calling for an end to Apartheid was not suggesting that white people be wiped out, so calling for Israel to no longer be a racist Zionist state is not wishing for the Jews to be vanquished from this earth.

I also have another suggestion for both the writer of this article and the readers of this blog. Instead of fixating on who wrote and funded the HSRC report, why not actually review the report and tackle it on the basis of facts, and not mere ad hominem attacks. Or is this just standard operating procedure for pro-Israel zealots who cannot address factual information and must constantly go on the offensive with smear campaigns against those who disagree with their perspective of Israel as a paragon of purity?

TC

In his excellent new book "One State, Two States", Benny Morris briefly but devastatingly criticizes Tilley.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

David,
I’m sure you know more farsi than the official translations over at the Iranian Republic’s Broadcaster:
http://web.archive.org/web/20070927213903/http://www.iribnews.ir/Full_en.asp?news_id=200247

________________________________
New York Times' Ethan Bronner:
"translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the (Iranian) foreign ministry disagree with (those who say he was misquoted). All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement refer to wiping Israel away."
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/weekinreview/11bronner.html?ex=1307678400&en=efa2bd266224e880&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

The President in his own words:
http://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4164

David Zinn

RF1

The New York Times?!! You're quoting the New York Times?!! One of the most pro-Israel newspapers in the world is one of your sources? Oh, that really is too much.

I have read through that Iranfocus transcript and question the validity of the translation because in Farsi the term wipe off the map doesn't exist, but be that as it may there are some revealing contextual clues as to Ahmadinejad's words. He notes that "the dear Imam [Ruhollah Khomeini"> said this regime must be destroyed" (emphasis mine). He reiterates this again by saying "Our dear Imam ordered that the occupying regime in Al-Qods be wiped off the face of the earth"(emphasis mine). Once again I believe the translaters have reached for an expression easy to understand for American audiences, but one that has no basis in Farsi. The president of Iran (who I am no fan of, by the way) goes on to say:

In his struggle against the World Arrogance, our dear Imam targeted the central and command base of the enemy, namely the occupying regime in Al-Qods. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in dear Palestine and which we witness today all over the Islamic world will soon wipe this scourge of shame from the Islamic world

You see, any failure to mention that Ahmadinejad is referring to the particular nature of the Israeli state as presently constituted when he refers to "wiping" Israel out is patently false, even if we allow for the mistranslation being taken as correct, which I still seriously doubt.

You conveniently ignore all my other far more significant points, which seems to be the trend with you, oh religious one.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

So you're prepared to concede that he would like to "remove" the occupying power in Jerusalem, i.e. the Government of the State of Israel?

Which "far more significant points" would you like me to respond to?

BTW: "plainly obvious to anyone" is the same as "mak(ing) an assertion and think(ing) that you have made a factual point"

RF2

Hi David

First let me agree with you on one point. I believe that one should be allowed to criticise any situation without having to search the world for seemingly equivalent situations to criticise as well. I feel that members of this blog too often make this mistake. If Tilley wants to attack Israel that does not obligate her to discuss Pakistan. The question does have some validity though when one is closely connected with one situation but chooses to engae in another.

To answe your question regarding the relevance of the source. There are many allegations against Israel. Many (but not all) have been proven to false. In those cases where the error was proven to be deliberate (see Reuters faking of photographs in Lebanon) then this source can never again be relied upon. Likewise, if a source has been shown to regularly quote disproven information then again, there allegations need to be investigated closely, with a very critical eye. Many on this blog and elsewhere (myself included) believethis be the case with Tilley.

Now regarding the main issue of this article. The accusation that Israel is an apartheid state has been thoroughly disproven. Honest Reporting did a comprehensive essay on the subject and there have been a number of past threads on this blog that have dealt with the issue http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/Not_an_-Apartheid_Wall-.asp
But for the sake of good debate lets get into it.
Firstly, you need not be an Israel apologist as you put it, to see that israel and apartheid sa are nothing alike - you just need to see the facts. You are still free to criticise israel in other areas, and we will be happy to defend (where possible) these criticisms. But not matter how you string it, Israel is not an apartheid state.

The honest reporting article even has a nice pretty table but in case you don't feel likeclicking on the link I'll make a brief summary.

The are a large number of Israeli Arabs, of the same ethic group as the Palestinians who have full citizenship, voting rites, government services etc. The are 2 Arab members of the Israeli Parliment who are allowed to (and do) severely criticise Israel.

The Pa;estinians, in the whole of Gaza, and in large parts of the west bank have self rule, with their own police force, weapons (many given to them by Israel after Oslo) and government. This was not the case in SA.

In SA balcks were not allowed into white areas. In Israel, Israeli arabs are treated as anyone else. Palestinians are treated as foreingers - because they are. They are not ruled by Israel at all so they are related to the same way all foreigners are related to - they need visas. Justas you would or even the Chief Rabbi of SA would if they wanted to visit Israel. This in no way resembles the pass book system. It is a passport. By the way, all Israeli are expected to carry Id with them at all times. This is not a unique law.
The freedom of movement of Palestinians is limited in 2 very reasonable ways. First, if they want to come into Israel then they need a visa. Second, if they want to kill Israeli's then israel won't let them. What I mean by this is the following. TYhe are 2 types of checkpoints. Thos at entrances that cross the green line and those within the west bank. The former are no more than passport cotrol point and if you wish to say that the lines here are inhumane then we should start going after the likes of Heathrow management as well. The latter are raod blocks. Palestinians may pass if they fullfill 2 requirements. They must not be carrying any illegal weapons and they must not be on Israel's terrorist wanted this. In short, if you're a good guy, you have no limit on you r freedom of movement, if you're a bad guy then you do.

Furthermore, in SA blacks were not allowed to use whites' facilities. In Israel both israeli arabs (with full access) and palestinians (with humanitarian permission) have access to Israeli hospitals etc.

As an aside, it would be helpfull if you refrained from insults and sweeping statements. It is clear that you are highly intelligent and it does not become you.

And finally. You call Mike a gullible fool (please see above comment), but how do know he is the gullible one. I personally have not seen the original tapes and discussed them with an unbiased person fluent in Farsi, have you? What we have are conflicting reports, I would suggest a little humility in being open to the possibility that you may be wrong. There is a simple way really, for you to prove this. If Ahmedenijad did mean what you say he meant then surely, after the world reported that he called for Israel to be wiped off the map, he would have issued a clarification himself. If you could supply us with a link to this statement from his office I'm sure it would be much appreciated.

RF2

Funmy how you ca quote Dugard, Tilley etc but if RF1 quotes the New York times its ridiculous.

Skipper

David Zinn,

you missed the point entirely.
In your blog you state 'Just because Sudan has a horrendous human rights record does that magically exculpate Israel from any and all abuses against the Palestinians?'

The point is not whether Israel is guilty of the alleged crimes (which she most certainly is not) but why this body chose to investigate Israel over ALL the other atrocities going on in the world.

The HSRC has no right playing in this place, but now they have they have chosen too, they either have to do the same research elsewhere or can this pseudo-investigation.

Let them look into xenophobia before they leave these shores

Steve

It's almost as if Sun's offensive remark about Muslim control was set as a trap for David.

He has no problem siding with sources that moan about the excessive Jewish control of America, yet when an unknown member of the public makes the same remark directed at Muslims, David once again displays an "unequal distribution of sympathy".

David, you once referred to the Israeli Palestinian conflict as between Jews and Palestinians. You also claim that the United States is always defending Israel - i.e. they are unduly influenced and hence controlled by the Israelies - ergo they are controlled by the Jews.

Sun, the ANC has deep-seated sympathies and good ties with the Palestinians. We may disagree with these positions but we can't say that it's because of "the Muslims".

Sun

'aight. Sorry for my offensive abrasive. I mean its controlled by the err "Palestinian lobby" as you so politically correct put it!

Ha!

John

It is obvious that neither Mike Berger or Steve read the HSRC report. Maybe you should do that before making all kinds of assumptions.

SOLAR PLEXUS

Who the hell is David Zinn?

TC

Having been to both Israel and South Africa, among many other countries, I can say without any hesitations that Israel is vastly superior in every way to South Africa. Israel contributes far more to the sciences and the arts, to technology and the environment than any other country of similar size, and certainly more than South Africa, which is much larger than Israel. Israel also has a far more diverse population with a vibrant culture. And all this while defending itself against genocidal regimes and theocratic fanatics. Most of the criticisms of Israel here can be easily shown to be false or duplicitous.

Indeed, I'd prefer living in Gaza than most places in South Africa. While the theocratic thugs ruling Gaza might want to kill more people and steal their land, they don't actually succeed in killing nearly as many as are killed in South Africa or in stealing as much! And far fewer of them are killed by Israeli responses than people killed in South Africa. They also have a far higher life expectancy than South Africans, etc.

Since there's some talk here about what's "plainly obvious", I have said what is obvious to me having been in both Israel and South Africa. Some political ideologues in South Africa disagree. But who am I to believed, them or my lying eyes? There's the problem of explaining their eccentric and excessive criticisms of Israel, and what they claim to be "obvious". Well, as far as I can see there are three not mutually exclusive explanations: either they're ingesting LSD or they're being paid to say these things or they don't like... er... people who speak Hebrew.

Now I'm not saying that all the false and duplicitous criticism of Israel is because of antisemitism, so there's no need for the frantic reply that antizionism is not necessarily antisemitism. I only propose this as one possible explanation, and wonder if there's a more plausible explanation.

TC

That is, Israel is not only superior to apartheid South Africa, but to the new South Africa. So criticism of Israel as an apartheid state is bizarre.

Steve

Fair enough John. You correct, I haven't read the 300 page report. I have better things to do. But I did read the Executive study for what it's worth.

I also wouldn't read a study on the question of whether HIV causes AIDS if the editor was President Mbeki.

David Zinn

Steve

I may have "once referred to the Israeli Palestinian conflict as between Jews and Palestinians" and "claimed that the United States[that is, the government] is always defending Israel", but it doesn't follow that they are "unduly influenced and hence controlled by the Israelies - ergo they are controlled by the Jews". You are imputing in my assertion of unbelievable US government support for Israel, backed up by a welter of sources and stretching back to the state's founding, an anti-Semitic motive. I never said, nor do I believe, that Jews control the US government or US foreign policy. I actually reject the thesis of the supposed power wielded by the Israel Lobby, which has gained some traction since the publication of the book by the same name last year, as I believe that the State of Israel serves the US government's strategic interest in the region. They are effectively 'cops on the beat' in an area that has unparalleled oil resources, as was noted by the US's primary post-War planners such as George Kennan and others. Please drop the inferences of anti-Semitism otherwise I'll have to conclude that you're not an honest broker in this discussion.

"I also wouldn't read a study on the question of whether HIV causes AIDS if the editor was President Mbeki".

Do you ad hominem much, Steve? Or make a habit of false equivalencies?

Skipper

You write that the "point is not whether Israel is guilty of the alleged crimes (which she most certainly is not)". So what is the point? And how can you be so confident that Israel is "certainly not" guilty of the alleged crimes? Do you know anything about Israel? Have you read the report in its entirety?

Who the hell is Solar Plexus?!! And why the childish tone from this figure? Quite pathetic contribution to the blog, if you don't mind me saying so.

RF2

In past discussions with you the only way that you ever "prove" allegations against Israel false is to dismiss them as lies and to provide no sources of your own. Why don't you check the end of the MRN Propaganda 101: Lie! thread where I pose the question to you regarding how one is supposed to parse a good source from a bad one. To apologists of Israel such as you a "good" source is one that confirms your bias and a bad one which challenges it. I can bury you and everyone on this blog with sources about how Israel is an apartheid state, but you won't accept these as evidence, much as religious fanatics discount all facts that contradict their view of the world. Israel has 'Jews only' beaches and sports clubs, and recently the Knesset moved to introduce a law that people had to recognise Israel as a 'Jewish Democratic state' otherwise they risk jail time. There is also a law which makes it illegal to acknowledge al-Nakba, the most significant event in the history of the Palestinians, and people who do so could be sentenced to three years in jail. Israel is an officially racist state, as these laws make apparent, as does the identify of the state.

There was a Tricamarel parliament during the 1980s in South Africa, does that mean that Apartheid didn't exist at this time?

A recent story on Al-Jazeera details that a Jewish settler in Hebron shot at six Palestinians, which was recorded on camera, and he has been acquitted by the government. Yes, I'm sure that has nothing to do with the racist nature of Israelis and the state that they are a part of. Could we imagine the reverse situation, that a Palestinian gets off after shooting at and injuring an Israeli? Not in your wildest dreams.

RF1(the resident clown, it would seem)

One such "significant point", possibly THE most significant, was the following statement I made in my first post:

I also have another suggestion for both the writer of this article and the readers of this blog. Instead of fixating on who wrote and funded the HSRC report, why not actually review the report and tackle it on the basis of facts, and not mere ad hominem attacks.

I can see that virtually all the posters on this blog who have thus far made an appearance have ignored this remark. Can't say I'm all that surprised.

David Zinn

Steve

I just couldn't let this pass without some comment. You write that "I haven't read the 300 page report" because you apparently "have better things to do", but that hasn't stopped you writing an article about it, in the process impugning all those who are involved as innately biased.

How unbelievably shoddy and downright lazy, not to mention dishonest. So then I could discount all reports that paint Israel in a positive light if I detect any bias in its compilers, without having to read it no less, so thanks for that permission via your example.

The pil

D.Z have you read the report?
You go on to state that That Israel is a colonialist, deeply racist and apartheid-style state. If you have not read the report than how can you make this statement. Or is your statement based on other evidence. If this is indeed the case please supply the evidence from an unbiased source and than we can have a debate on that evidence.

David Zinn

Here are a few articles that might be of interest to those who think Israel is not a racist and colonialist state.

'Where the Victim is the Guilty Party' by Jonathan Cook - http://www.jkcook.net/Articles2/0397.htm#Top

'The founders of apartheid would be proud' by Amira Hass - http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node/1710. One of the more significant paragraphs from the piece:

Had members of the Israeli media, who were appalled by the sight of the young Jewish settler woman cursing her Palestinian "neighbors" in Hebron, in master-like gestures, been interested in being effective as well - they would have organized in time to express their shock at Major General Naveh's instruction, which will make a criminal of every Israeli who gives a ride in the West Bank to a Palestinian friend or a family member who is not a first-degree relative. But the media as a whole, and the Journalists Association and jurists who specialize in media law, have left the fight to the human rights organizations and a few lone journalists. Had the media not forgotten the innumerable reports that it itself has published about the doings of the settlers in Hebron and the military government there - it would have concluded that the demographic separation that Naveh's new instruction imposes is the offspring of the same mode of thinking and action that has brought about ethnic cleansing in the old city of Hebron.

Israelis not being allowed to give car rides to Palestinians? No, there's nothing discriminatory or even mildly racist about that, is there.

I would also advise reading the profile of her by Robert Fisk published in 2001 where she is quoted as saying the following:

"People misled themselves into believing that Oslo was a peace process – so they became very angry with the Palestinians. Part of their anger is directed at me. Israelis do not go to the occupied territories. They do not see with their own eyes. They don't see a Palestinian village with a settler on its land and a village that has no water and needs government permission even to plant a tree, let alone build a new school. People don't understand how the dispersal of Jewish settlements dictates Israeli control over Palestinian territory."

Available at http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0826-04.htm.

Another Hass article is well worth reading, entitled 'Can you really not see your racism?' and available at http://www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org/node/1673.

She writes:

Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip?

She later observes:

Could it be that you do not know what is happening 15 minutes from your faculties and offices? Is it plausible that you support the system in which Hebrew soldiers, at checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank, are letting tens of thousands of people wait everyday for hours upon hours under the blazing sun, while selecting: residents of Nablus and Tul Karm are not allowed through, 35-year-olds and under - yallah, back to Jenin, residents of the Salem village are not even allowed to be here, a sick woman who skipped the line must learn a lesson and will be purposefully detained for hours. Machsom Watch's site is available for all; in it are countless such testimonies and worse, a day by day routine. But it cannot be that those who are appalled over every swastika painted on a Jewish grave in France and over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish local newspaper will not know how to reach this information, and will not be appalled and outraged.

Stephen Lendman is a particularly valuable source of information on the situation in Israel/Palestine, without the customary lies, distortions, or elisions of the Western media.

Some articles of his I recommend include:

'Israel's Wanton Aggression On Gaza' - available at http://www.populistamerica.com/israels_wanton_aggression_on_gaza.

'Another Israeli West Bank Land Grab Scheme' - available at http://www.populistamerica.com/another_israeli_west_bank_land_grab_scheme.

'Torture As Official Israeli Policy' - http://www.populistamerica.com/torture_as_official_israeli_policy.

'Sixty Years of Displacement, Occupation and Suffering' - available at http://www.populistamerica.com/sixty_years_of_displacement_occupation_and_suffering.

'Israeli Extra-Judicial Executions' - available at http://www.populistamerica.com/israeli_extra_judicial_executions.

'Israeli Use of Palestinians As Human Shields' available at http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html.

An article of great interest is Stephen Zunes' "Defending Israeli War Crimes" available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/defending-israeli-war-cri_b_208663.html.

There's plenty more where that came from, but I'll leave it at that for now.

David Zinn

TC’s attempt to compare South Africa and Israel are woefully inexact for a number of reasons. Firstly, for centuries most of South Africa’s population has been brutally oppressed, denied education and had the best land in the country stolen from them, which surely takes its toll on people. The only meaningful comparison between Israel and South Africa would be to compare the lives of white South Africans and Jewish Israelis, rather than with the entire South African population. Any other kind of comparison is essentially meaningless.

Secondly, any country that has been supported to the hilt monetarily, militarily and diplomatically by the world’s only superpower for decades should hardly be praised as a terrific success story. Had Israel not become a successful nation under the highly favourable condition of US tutelage and ceaseless support on so many levels I would have been highly surprised.

If TC really thinks Gaza is so much better to live than South Africa I invite him to move there. In fact if he is so taken with the world’s largest open air prison, where half the children under 14 are malnourished and eat one meal a day, then why doesn’t he spend at least a few hours there soaking up the wonderful ambience of a place where sewerage runs in the streets because Israel refuses to allow petrol to be shipped into the territory, thus the only sewerage plant cannot function properly. Let’s not forget what a barrel of laughs 80% unemployment and nightly sonic booms from fighter jets are. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Gazans have to endure, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

While no one would argue that South Africa doesn’t have a sickeningly high rate of crime, isn’t it better to live under a government that is at least attempting, however unsuccessfully, to curb violent crime, rather than under a regime where violence is the official policy, as is the case in Israel?

I also question whether TC understands the term ‘per capita’, because even if it can be argued that there are fewer murders of Gazans by the Israeli government than there are victims of homicide in South Africa, by virtue of the fact that there are 48 million South Africans and just 1.5 million people living in Gaza, simply comparing casualty figures is another basically meaningless comparison.

The pil

I never claimed to have read the report, nor did I write an article about it, so the onus wasn’t on me to have read it. I hope to still read it, or at least will attempt to.

I have included a number of sources in a recent post which hasn’t been uploaded yet. Probably has to do with the number of URLs which I believe get classified as spam before they appear on the site. Ask Steve about that.

Could you please explain why you mean by the term “unbiased”? When most people use this term they are implying that they won’t accept any information that challenges their already extant bias. In my experience, supporters of Israel always trot this term out to reject uncomfortable information that clashes with their worldview. There is no such thing as an unbiased source and to pretend otherwise is ridiculous. I aim to read from as many sources as possible because that is the best way to build up as complete a picture of a situation as possible. Is that what you do?

By the way, if any people on this blog reject my sources as liars and distorters without providing any of their own, or without evincing that they’ve actually read the sources in question, it will simply confirm what I’ve just articulated about the term “unbiased”.

greenmamba

David Zinn – Iran and “wipe Israel off the map”

The instance to which you refer got worldwide attention and Iranian ambassadors were hauled onto the carpet in many host countries; the regime thus KNEW what was going on but they made no attempt to correct the impression they had made.

The theme of destroying Israel has been uttered by Iran before and since this particular incident. In 2001, then Pres. Rafsanjani was quite explicit about using nukes, even stating that Israel could be destroyed with one, whereas Iran could be nuked and still survive. It is obvious that Iran's government is quite comfortable wearing this mantle. The alternative translation came about because one incident received great publicity. I have to conclude that Juan Cole and people like you would rather risk the threat of Israel being nuked than allowing any knowledge that might cause people to have sympathy for her.

You are an ideologue and your arguments reek of it.

Steve

David,
I'm not going to read the report. I am going to continue to judge it based on the the documented record of the editor. I do not think it is possible for Israel to receive a fair trial from Tilley.

I don't believe she can "test the hypotheses" in a manner that treats both sides fairly.

I'm sorry if I have overlooked any remarks you have made but I also don't have the time to read your long comments.

By the way, I just found your post in the spam folder. It is now published.

TC

David Zinn argues that the comparison between the prosperity of Israel and South Africa is misleading for two reasons. First, because South Africa's population has been persecuted for centuries, and secondly, because of American support of Israel. However, these are bad reasons.

First, the Jewish population of Israel has also been persecuted for centuries, throughout Europe and Arab states as well as in the holy land. Furthermore the conditions of the Arab population was horrible before Israel's reestablishment. Indeed, under the occupation Palestinian life expectancy rose from 48 to 72 years, infant-mortality rates decreased by two-thirds, and the GNP increased ten-folds. Of course, Israeli Arabs, not launching missiles onto Israeli towns or blowing up Israeli buses and not living under occupation, prosper even more.

Secondly, the support given to Israel is because of Israeli contributions and values; if Israel elected the sort of genocidal theocratic regimes that surround Israel, it would lose support.

In many respects Israel faces more challenges than South Africa. For Israel faces large genocidal enemies, and has had to defend itself against them, whereas South Africa does not and has not.

I do not know why David thinks that violence is the "official policy" of Israel. I can't think of any country in history that has given more for peace, or that has acted with such restraint against genocidal enemies. Maybe violence is the official policy of the South African government given the amount of violent crime in South Africa and given the genocidal regimes and dictatorships that South Africa support. No wonder then that South Africa shows so much sympathy towards the thugs who attack Israel.

Maybe someone else could calculate the per capita number of innocent people intentionally targeted by Israel and the number of people murdered in South Africa.

Finally, David Zinn recommends my living in Gaza because I think that it's generally a better, safer place than South Africa. But this is a monumental non sequitur. I would prefer to live in Gaza than in South Africa, though I doubt I'd be allowed to live there given the racist policies of the theocrats running Gaza. In any case, I'd prefer to live neither in Gaza nor in South Africa.

David Zinn

I'm an ideologue? That's rich coming from someone who asks that I have "sympathy" for a racist and warmongering state that repeatedly violates human rights. Why should I have "sympathy" for such a state? I never had any sympathy for the Apartheid government, nor should any decent person have had. I have sympathy for the victims of oppression, not the oppressors. I know that's a bit difficult for the supporters of Israel to grasp, but that's just the way I see things.

Why don't you have a similar problem with the Israeli government threatening to take out any nuclear weapons of Iran? Or bombing the Iraqi Osirak nuclear facility in 1981? Or Menachem Begin referring to Palestinians as "two-legged beasts"?

What is that old saying about words and sticks and stones?

Steve

Thanks for posting my links.

Just a quick question, who do you think will give Israel a "fair trial"? Will this person have to only confirm what you already think about Israel for you to take the report or article seriously? I really would like to know, so don't think of this as a 'gotcha' question.

Shouldn't you at least read some of the report to determine where Tilley got her facts from, and then dispute the facts rather than just dismiss the whole enterprise out of hand because a woman who has some strange ideas (according to you) was involved in the drawing up of the report?

A few thoughts, use them or lose them...

The pil

DZ the problem with a biased source is that it is unreliable- it does not provide facts it merely distorts reality.

Please don't assume that i am stupid or ignorant, i am neither. Nevertheless it is interesting that you assume that because i am a zionist that i am either ignorant or stupid, possibly both.

Just on a side note please see this link and see where Israel is ranked in terms of democracy http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy.htm I wonder if this will change your world view.

Steve

Sorry David,
I don't think it's worth my while to read Tilley's report. I don't object to a judge who sympathises with Palestinians. One can be pro-Palestinian and be able to give Israel a fair trial.

My objection is to the dishonest meausures Tilley has resorted to in the past to make her argument.

In any event, I am surprised that you find it strange that we are opposed to someone who is so vocal and adamant about the position that the study aims to test. She spends most of her time on Palestinian activist issues. She is a propagandist. She is in no position to make any claims of being able to write a neutral and clear headed report on these issues.

I ask you again, would you spend time reading through a 300 page report, testing the hypothesis that carbon emissions effect climate, written by an activist for industry who has previously spearheaded attempts to influence policy in favour of allowing increased emissions?

Given the length of your posts, you may have the time to read the report. But would you really take its conclusion seriously? Surely you would prejudge it?

Steve
Shouldn't you at least read some of the report

I did read some of it. I read the Executive Summary. That is specifically written for people who won't read the full article but want to read some of it.

David Zinn
I can't think of any country in history that has given more for peace, or that has acted with such restraint against genocidal enemies.

Excuse me while I bust a gut laughing. Oh, but you are a brilliant comedian, TC. Israel "given more for peace" than "county in history". Brilliant joke!!

Maybe between your comedic routines you'd like to provide sources for all this improvement that has occurred under Israeli occupation. You say that the "life expectancy rose from 48 to 72 years", which would mean that Palestinians have a higher life exptency than many first world countrie, a complete impossibility, particularly that peoplein Gaza are starving and 80& of them unemployed, with half the children eating once a day. Please do also tell us how you came to the conclusion that "infant-mortality rates decreased by two-thirds, and the GNP increased ten-folds". Remember, no "unbiased" sources here, please.

Looking at the conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza today I'd say their lives are pretty "horrible", so it would have had to be pretty abysmal "before Israel's reestablishment". Nice use of the world "reestablishment", which tells me that we have someone who's taking his cues from a Bronze Age text filled with fantastical fables and littered with inaccuracies. That would be the Bible, by the way.

Violence used to be the official policy of the Apartheid regime, which had very close ties to the murderous Israeli government. Isn't that interesting that under Apartheid the government of Israel and South Africa were such bosom buddies, with Israel providing arms and information on building nuclear weapons to Pretoria. I supposed assisting the old South African Defence Force massacre a million and a half people in Angola and Mozambique, causing billions of dollars worth of damage in the process, basically destroying both countries, was all in aid of "peace".

The current government may be woeful at combatting crime, no argument here, but they are at least trying to stop it, rather than being the chief agency of violence a la the old government and the present one in Israel.

You are very naive thinking that if Israel became as "theocratic" as some other regimes in the region, the country would lose support. Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest recipients of US and economic military aid in the Middle East, going back to the 40s. Are they a sterling example of a democracy who have made incredible "contributions" to civilisation and exhibit wondrously humane "values"?

Israel wants to be seen as an officially Jewish state, so that's rather "theocratic" if you ask me. The entire state only exists as actualisation of a religious idea, so at its core the country is theocratically inspired, even if there is a relatively vibrant democracy that has emerged from the destruction of another civilisation.

Why don't you give us a list of the "genocidal regimes and dictatorships that South Africa supports", and I don't just mean in terms of voting at the UN, but actual military and diplomatic and financial support. Considering Israel receives backing from the world's leading terrorist state, the United States for those still in the dark, I wouldn't be so quick to point my fingers at a relatively powerless third world country that has minimal influence on world affairs.

If you hate South Africa so much, please leave, unless you're already out of the country. We really don't need small minded, fact-free bigots who unfavourably compare a despicable terrorist state such as Israel to one where Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president. Go and live in Gaza, big shot, and see how much you like to be constantly brutalised and scraping for every last meal.

The pil

I never meant to imply that I think you're "stupid or ignorant", and I certainly also didn't accuse you of being a Zionist, though being on this site I should probably have guessed. Sorry if that's the impression I created.

I will check out that link, but one must be careful with such studies because while Israel, like its parent country the United States, is internally quite democratic, indeed easily the most democratic state in the Middle East, but that has nothing to do with the harsh conditions that the Israeli government imposes on the Palestinians. That is where my principal criticism lies.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Steve and Mike Berger,

Since Israel has not cut diplomatic links with South Africa, I look forward to the time when South Africa cuts all links with Israel. Of course, I would much prefer Israel to take the moral high-ground but if she hasn't got the courage or sanity to do so, then we should have to accept the second best option which really isn't so bad.

If Tilley's HSRC report encourages The ANClowns and associated idiotic ideologues to boycott Israel, then I certainly welcome it.

Btw, the above comment is not tongue in cheek.

jp

search life expectancy in gaza in google... and you will find all the sources... from the World Health organisation, to wikipedia, to many others.. Not that hard a figure to find... So surely if all the statistics, point to the fact that your "impossibility" is actually true, that surely you should have to start doubting many other facts that you consider true, as they are what have lead you to believe this is an impossibility? In fact life expectancy is higher in the Gaza strip than it is in Belfast. It is definately higher than almost all countries in Africa, including South Africa.

http://www.emro.who.int/emrinfo/index.asp?Ctry=pal

This "murderous" israeli regime is obviously doing a very bad job at being murderous, especially with the exponential growth within the palestinian populations....

Oh and David you do truly seem to just ignore all the other people who are israeli citizens, with full and equal rights... The Ba'hai, to the Druze, to the christians, to the moslems, to the ethiopians, to the sudanese refugees... In fact (something that you also totally ignore) it is possibly one of the most multicultural countries in the world...

Yes a solution needs to be found between the palestinians and the israelis, but your naive, and completely impracticable solution has absolutely no connection to the complexities that actually exist on the ground. It just shows that you have read a lot of books that support your views and that you have no real grasp on how a solution can be found, beyond a purely intellectual point of view, in reality.

David Zinn

I agree wholeheartedly with The Blacklisted Dictator as I would also wholeheartedly "welcome" the ANC boycotting the rogue Israeli regime, just as I would welcome and encourage all civilised countries to boycott that pariah state the way sanctions were levelled against Apartheid South Africa.

Our interpretations differ, of course, as I consider the supporters of Israel to be the real ideologues (though they're not always idiots or clowns).

Btw, if so many of the people on this blog actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that Israel holds any kind of "moral high-ground" over any state(what a joke), let alone a country like South Africa, then why don't you all do the Republic of South Africa a great favour and disappear to your Zionist paradise. Please, I urge all those who hate South Africa as much as TC and The Blacklisted Dictator do to leave, that is if you haven't already done so.

My above comments are also certainly not tongue in cheek.

greenmamba

Zinn:

The point I made is that Iran certainly is threatening Israel and that you choose to ignore this as well as trying to get others to think there is no threat. You did not address this and I have to conclude that you do not understand the ramifications of a nuclear attack or do not care. (In other words, you must be ignorant or stupid. I’m sorry to be blunt but there’s no room for nuance here.)

”racist, warmongering, repeatedly violates human rights” can certainly be applied to many of Israel’s neighbours / enemies, in spades. It doesn’t make it right if Israel does it too but it destroys your credibility that you mention only Israel when others in the equation are such flagrant violators of decency.

(In a similar fashion Virginia Tilley finds the very idea of Israel as a Jewish state to be racist and talks of “its contempt for UN resolutions and international law …” forgetting that UNGAR 181 called for Jewish and Arab States and ignoring Arab League contempt for international law as well as there being 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and then there’s the Vatican and the Queen as leader of the Church of England. Why waste time reading the opinions of a person with a lame brain?)

As for Israel attacking Iraq and potentially Iran: in the face of the overt threat posed by these countries and also that after Osirak Israel undertook no further aggression indicating they acted defensively, criticism is not warranted.

“two-legged beasts,” seems to be fictitious. Again you reveal your desire to believe any anti-Israel propaganda that comes your way. You know the psychology behind all this, the desire to have an object of hate etc. is linked to the tribal nature of our species. It’s the same psychology behind antisemitism. You really should try to rise above it.

TC

I tried to reply to David Zinn's comment carefully without resorting to insult or name-calling. He responds by calling me a "comedian" and "bigot".

He then asks for unbaised sources. My source for some of the data is Efraim Karsh's article, "What Occupation?" Presumably, David Zinn does not count this as an unbiased source, but then I don't count his sources, e.g. Hass, Fisk and Finkelstein, as unbaised.

In any case, jp has shown just how easily the Palestinian average life expectancy of over 72 years can be verified online at:

http://www.emro.who.int/emrinfo/index.asp?Ctry=pal

David Zinn claimed adamantly that this is impossible. Now he must claim either that the World Health Organization is biased against Palestinians or that what he so adamantly claimed as impossible is indeed actual, and that he was mistaken. But, as jp points out, if he is mistaken about this, then his other background belief grounding this mistake must also be false.

He subsequently insults my religious commitments as "fantastical fables" "littered with inaccuracies". Of course, he is free to do this here, as in Israel; this is not Gaza or an Arab state where he would face severe punishment for criticizing the Quran. For his interest I recommend, Kenneth Kitchen's book "On the Reliability of the Old Testament".

In any case, whether or not he accepts everything recounted in the Hebrew Bible, there's no serious denying the existence of ancient Israel and Judah, and the Jews were a majority in the land long after the times of the Hebrew Bible. They always maintained a presence there after exile, and never lost hope of reclaiming their land. So I don't see anything objectionable in claiming that Israel was "reestablished".

I claimed that South Africa is a violent country that supports genocidal regimes and dictatorships. David Zinn requests a list of countries here, but says that he doesn't "just mean in terms of voting at the UN, but actual military and diplomatic and financial support." He is apparently aware of South Africa's dismal and embarrassing voting record. I do count voting at at the UN as diplomatic support; if this is not diplomatic support, what is? And South Africa supports these regimes, and occupations far, far more brutal than Israel's occupation in Gaza ever was, in other ways.

greenmamba

There are several Human Development Indexes published including one by the UN. In general the Palestinians rank higher than many Arab countries, the exceptions being ones awash in oil. They rank higher than South Africa by a good margin.

In any case the Palestinians are heavily covered by journalists. I've never seen a picture anything like exists in India or even South Africa. Check the recent article where Abbas says: "in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

http://tinyurl.com/mm7b3j

Religious Fundamentalist 1

PLease don't confuse David with facts. His mind is made up. You can tell this from his various posts here and on the MRN Propaganda 101 thread.

The Blacklisted Dictator

David Zinn ( June 13, 2009 at 19:05)

Well DZ, we can't agree on everything but I do think that we are making some progress. I am very influenced by Barack Obama's diplomacy and I know, in my heart, that we can resolve our differences.We must not live in the past and we must engage in order to bring peace.

But assuming that The ANC cannot get its act together to boycott Israel, would you support my campaign for Israel to break the dead-lock and boycott South Africa? I am not sure whether The ANC is going to take any notice of Virginia's dossier (as Steve says it is far too long) so the best bet is to follow my strategy. How about it DZ?

The Blacklisted Dictator

http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/06/guess-whos-coming-to-sa.html

David Zinn,

You write: "You people are a disgrace to honesty, humane values and intellectual integrity, as well as being smear merchants to boot."

I think that the vast majority of Jews are a lot worse. In South Africa, it is only really a handful of decent honest jews ( aka Kasrils , Friedman, Isaacs, Geffen etc) who save us. What pains me most, out of all my faults, is my lack of "intellectual integrity". Of course, I am doing my best to get on track. I read Chomsky, Finkelstein and Richard Falk before I go to bed but for some strange reason, I am not improving. Is it that I have chosen the wrong books? Or is it some sort of genetic defect?

Anyway, I love your use of "you people". It is a real breath of fresh air and not reminiscent of anything that we have heard in the past.

Overall you have been much too kind and I think that you should tell us what you really feel. Don't worry about being accused of anti-semitism (it is a pathetic zionist ploy.) There are times when it is perfectly legitimate for a visitor to this blog to tell us precisely what is wrong with us.

The pil

DZ please let me be clear, I do not mind being called a zionist, in actual fact i am proud to be asociated with the term.

I am extremely disturbed by your assertion that people such as Blacklisted dictator should leave SA. Are you advocating that people who do not hold your views should leave the country and thereby not contribute to it. If so how do you propose this should occur

I thought that SA's Constitution states that 'We the people of South Africa...Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.'Do you not hold by this statement?

david Saks

The following response from the SAJBD and SAZF to the HSRC Report has now been sent to the Minister of Science and Technology:

Dear Minister Pandor

The Human Sciences Research Council, which falls under the Ministry of Science and Technology, has just released a Report entitled “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law”. This was carried out under the auspices of the HSRC’s Democracy and Governance Programme Middle East Project.

The intention of this research project was to provide “a scholarly resource for the South African government and civil society and the concerned international community”. In this regard, it can unequivocally be said to have failed conclusively.

It seems all too clear that the researchers decided beforehand what they wished to establish and thereafter set about selectively compiling evidence and arguments to support this predetermined conclusion. As a result, their report is fundamentally flawed, providing a skewed, unrealistic analysis of the Middle East conflict that certainly will not redound to the credit of the HSRC.

At the core of this failure is the fact that the Report adopts throughout an artificial “Actor vs. Acted Upon” paradigm through which to interpret the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli side is always the ‘acting’ party, whose actions are subjected to the minutest critical scrutiny. The Palestinians, by contrast, are depicted as essentially passive and, it therefore follows, guiltless of any wrongdoing. It is Israel that has multiple obligations; the Palestinians seemingly have none.

The Report arrives at the sweeping conclusion that Israel’s “racially discriminatory” policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians “cannot be justified on reasonable security grounds” yet at no stage seeks to grapple with the details of just what those security concerns might be.

Just what are the on-the-ground realities of terrorist attacks on its citizens that have motivated Israel to impose the kind of restrictive measures on the Palestinians that the Report continually deplores? Put another way, how many recorded attacks have there been, what form have they taken, who has been targeted, what was the role in all of this of the Palestinian leadership and what would any nation similarly threatened be reasonably expected to do in response to such acts? One would expect responsible, professional researchers to delve very carefully into such questions.

There is a vast, and ever growing, body of sobering evidence of Palestinian violence directed against Israel and its citizens, both within the West Bank and Gaza and within Israel proper. Such acts of hostility, in which civilians more often than not were the targets, number in the tens of thousands. All this evidence is readily available. The record shows, amongst many other things, that the Palestinian leadership has been directly responsible for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks, that humanitarian resources have been abused for this purpose (e.g. ambulances used for weapons smuggling) and that the propagation of racial hatred and incitement to violence against Jews permeates every level of Palestinian society.

Astonishingly, the HSRC Report has nothing to say about any of this. Nowhere in its more than three hundred pages does one find these crucial aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute being addressed, even to a limited degree. Judging by their approach, we can only conclude that the researchers believe the Palestinian leadership to have no reciprocal obligations to foster an environment in which the two peoples can co-exist in peace and equality.

It is, self-evidently, meaningless to level sweeping accusations of colonialism and apartheid against a sovereign State without rigorously examining the context in which those actions take place. That the Report studiedly avoids doing this can only lead to the conclusion that those responsible were motivated by their ideological biases rather than by a genuine desire to unravel the complexities of what all agree is one of the world’s most difficult conflict situations.

Examining the backgrounds of the chief editor of the Report, Dr. Virginia Tilley, the principle contributors and the sponsoring organisations, one is not surprised to discover a common thread of intensive anti-Israel sentiment. Virtually all have long records of campaigning against Israel, and as such should be seen as activists rather than neutral scholars.

That the Report ultimately produced is decidedly not scholarly as reflected in its clearly biased original terms of reference, its original motivation (by Special Rapporteur to the UNHRC John Dugard, internationally known for his partisan views on the Middle east question) and its selective and partisan researchers and sponsors. Whatever it was intended to achieve, the Report that has emerged serves to obscure rather than clarify, unjustly condemns one side of the conflict while by pointed omission exonerating the other and constitutes a distinctly ones-sided analysis of a complex international issue under the guise of independent scholarship.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation hereby express our profound regret over what we consider a misuse of public funds by those intent on pursuing a grossly partisan political agenda. This is decidedly not what the Human Sciences Research Council, a scholarly, statutory body of the South African Government, was set up to achieve.

Yours respectfully


ZEV KRENGEL NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
SA JEWISH BOARD OF DEPUTIES

AVROM KRENGEL
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
SA ZIONIST FEDERATION

Sun

DZ,
Why should we limit this to Palestine vs Israel when the majority of the conflict has been Arab World vs Israel.

And when did the Arabs kill more than 200? Too many times!

Syria, at Hama, killed more Arab civilians than Israel has killed Palestinians in one day.

One day brother!

Israel may have killed 200 in one day, but them would be alive if there was no rockets being fired, and you know that. And looking at total number of Palestinians killed by Israel, its less than the number of casualties for most other conflicts in the world.

This is one of the longest conflicts, with so few Palestinian casualties when Israel has such disproportionate military strength, you gots ta conclude that Israel limits numbers killed because they worrt about things like life and morality. Not like them sri lankans who smash so many a day! (including the new zealanders).

David Zinn

Hello Pil

I would never dream of telling people to leave SA just because they don't agree with me, nor is it what I wrote. TC revoltingly stated that he would prefer to live in Gaza as opposed to South Africa, though ultimately he doesn't want to live in either Gaza or South Africa. What he obviously failed to mention was that he has never set foot in Gaza, and never would, because in his heart of hearts, if he possesses such an organ, he knows how detestable it would be to live in what has been described as the world's largest open air prison. Those are his words, not mine, so if he hates the country so much he should simply leave. This is advice I would extend to all those with such a deep loathing of the country they live in, assuming TC does actually still live here.

Blacklisted Dictator actually thinks that Israel has the "moral high ground" over South Africa and instead of our country boycotting a major international terror state, they should boycott us. So once again he is making clear that he thinks Israel, despite its horrendous human rights record and complete disregard for international lawy, is a superior country to South Africa. That's why I also invited him to pack his bags.

Those who want to positively contribute to the country, whether they were born in SA or elsewhere, should certainly be encouraged to do so, and I have absolutely no problem with anyone expressing their views as that is one of the cornerstones of democracy.

I am actually planning to leave South Africa myself, hopefully sooner rather than later, because of professional reasons and not due to some ineluctable hatred of the country. I also don't see myself as leaving forever.

You are also free to be a proud Zionist, though I would hesitate to be particularly proud of an ideology so tinged with ethno-religious chauvinism but to each his, or her, own. I resist pride in national or religious identification, opting instead to live by Thomas Paine's words "the world is my country, my religion is to do good".

David Zinn

Hello Blacklisted Dictator

Loved the sarcasm in your last post addressed to me. Firstly, let me clarify that my reference to "you people" was aimed the majority of the posters on this blog who seem to have similar opinions, and not to Jews as a whole. For all I know the participants on this thread and elsewhere could be right-wing Afrikaners, opera loving Zulus, boisterous blonde bimbos, gentle German gentiles, or any of a number of ethnic/cultural/linguistic groups. Almost none of the people use their real names so it is very difficult to tell.

Secondly, in an important sense you, and those who share your views, can't actually read Chomsky, Finkelstein or Falk, or at least not in any meaningful sense of that term, because to actually absorb their criticism of Israel you would actually have to change your view of your beloved state. We wouldn't want that, now would we? In any case I'm sure you've never actually read any books by Chomsky or Finkelstein, and never will. Too many uncomfortable facts, as opposed to comforting propaganda from Israeli spokesmen and biased journalists.

Thirdly, you're right about there being many great South African Jews, even ones such as Helen Suzman who weren't too critical of Israel despite her incisive criticism on the Apartheid regime, and there are many great Jews throughout the world. You'll get to argument from me on that point.


David Zinn

TC

Even if you are correct that the living standards of Palestinians is so much more impressive than it was before the establishment of the state of Israel, how does that in any way help your case? I’m quite sure that the life expectancy of Aborigines in Australia is higher now than prior to the arrival of white settlers (it’s still about 17 years below the white population, but that’s another story), so does that justify the genocide of this ancient people and stealing of their children that occurred during the first half of the 20th Century. Similarly, one could well argue that blacks in South Africa had a higher standard of living during Apartheid than their fellow Africans in other parts of the continent, so does that justify Apartheid?

For your flagrant bias towards Israel and dismissal of Palestinian rights you have proven yourself to be a bigot. Express some genuine sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and maybe I’ll change my opinion.

Anyone that can ask “What Occupation”, let alone write an article with the that title, is beyond “biased”, that person is a vulgar propagandist. I’d like to take Karsh on a tour of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and then perhaps he’ll have an idea of what occupation.

I’d be quite interested in how anyone, whether it’s Kenneth Kitchens or Moses, could possibly argue that the Old Testament is in any way reliable. I could point you in the direction of Christopher Hitchens’ God is not great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Sam Harris' The End of Faith for an insight into how unreliable the Old Testament is. Perhaps you’d also care to look at the work of Biblical Archaeologist Hecter Avalos who has claimed that there is scant evidence for the great temple supposedly built by David. In fact there are many Israeli scholars who seriously doubt David ever existed, and I urge you to watch any number of excellently researched documentaries on National Geographic and the History Channel which detail just how completely unreliable both the New and Old Testaments are. Even without all these scholarly resources, which are just the tip of a very large iceberg, common sense should be enough to dismiss most of the Old Testament as just so much hokum. Is it realistic, do you think, after all we know about the history of our planet, to think that the world was created in six days? Are you aware that there are two different creation stories in Genesis? How about the fundamental impossibility of a talking snake. There is also no evidence from archaeology, palaeontology or geology to suggest that there was ever a worldwide deluge. Do you think it is in keeping with the natural order of things for a massive body of water to be parted with such magical ease? Would it perhaps be wrong to cast doubt on an account of trumpets bringing down massive walls, as what happened at Jericho? Perhaps you think that it is far too sceptical to question the validity of a story detailing a man living inside a large fish for several days?

The Jews may have “maintained a presence [in Palestine] after exile”, but it was a minority one right up to the 1930s. For most of the time between 70CE and the 20th Century the vast majority of the population were Arabs, a fact conveniently always elided by the Zionist faction. Just because someone harbours a hope of returning to their ancestral land doesn’t make it justified. Perhaps you’d care to enlighten us why it wouldn’t be appropriate for the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain to return to Germany? After all they’ve been separated from their “homeland” for a shorter time than most of the Jews who immigrated to Israel in the twentieth century.

South Africa does have a rather dire voting record at the UN, but by virtue of being a rather insignificant third world country our impact on decision making is minimal, unlike the United States which can cast a single vote which cancels out all the other votes in the General Assembly. There is also a difference between voting not to censure Burma and supplying the junta with arms. Perhaps you’d like to enlighten us in what “other ways” South Africa “supports” these supposedly more brutal regimes, or is this just another figment of your hatred of SA? Considering that Israel is itself responsible for a brutal occupation, which you have nothing to say about, I wouldn’t be so quick to point fingers at South Africa which, for all its fault, is no longer a major terror state, unlike the country you love so much.

I also find it quite interesting that the people on this blog love to say that at least Israel isn’t as bad as Sudan, because last year I read an interesting article that detailed how Israel, along with a number of other nations, had provided training and arms to the murderous militias responsible for the genocide in Darfur. Israel has also long been a mercenary state for the United States and acted as an intermediary to supply arms to regimes that the US couldn’t be seen to be doing business with. There is a long and detailed history of Israel providing arms to Latin American dictatorships and Israel was implicated in the famous Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, which only scratched the surface of a vast conspiratorial network. Apart from being a representative of Western interests in the vital oil rich Middle East, Israel has long served the above mentioned function, as could be witnessed in the friendly relationship between Pretoria and Israel during the Apartheid years when Israel supplied all manner of weaponry to the SANDF to massacre people, labelled “communists”, in Mozambique and Angola, almost destroying both nations in the process. Let’s not forget the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 which led to the deaths of 20 000 people, the most horrific episode being the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, overseen by General Ariel Sharon. The Israeli High Court found him guilty of crimes against humanity, and his reward was to become Prime Minister. What a marvellously humane nation Israel is, what a sterling human rights record!! They are truly a light unto the world!!

Greenmamba

Greenmamba writes that the attack on the Osirak reactor was a “defensive” act. Apart from the hypocrisy, perhaps he’d be interested to know that at the time that Israel bombed this nuclear plant it wasn’t producing any weapons, but Saddam became concerned after the Israeli bombing and so accelerated his nuclear weapons programme, courtesy the US and UK governments, of course. So then I’m sure, in the spirit of fairness, Greenmamba would be perfectly comfortable with Iran bombing Israel’s nuclear weapons plants in “defence”, considering the aggressive posturing that Israel have adopted towards Iran, overtly threatening to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities on behalf of the US. There was a report a while ago which revealed that in a closed door meeting between members of the Israeli government and the Bush Administration, the former adamantly tried to convince Bush to allow Israel to attack Iran. Even that extremist international terrorist Shrub realised the madness of such a strategy.

Greenmamba also accuses me of displaying a “tribal” attitude, which is patently absurd coming from someone who, like virtually everyone else on this blog, has thrown their weight behind defending Israel at all costs. Mr Pot, I think it’s high time that you meet Mr Kettle. To support Israel and Jews in the blind fashion that you and others have displayed thus far is the epitome of tribalism, and the fact that you can’t see this indicates to me how utterly purblind you are about your own motivations.


Religious Fundamentalist 1

" The Israeli High Court found him guilty of crimes against humanity, and his reward was to become Prime Minister"

Once again, somebody hasn't read his History books.

David Zinn

Yes, Fundieman, that somebody would be you, considering how little you know about the history of Israel's founding, or almost anything else about the state you lavish such puppy love upon.

I admit to giving the state of Israel too much credit, and relied on memory, because, after all, they'll never find one of their own guilty of any serious transgressions.

According to Daniel Neff:

Sharon and seven other Israeli officials, including Begin, were found guilty the next year by an Israeli commission of “indirect responsibility” for the massacres. Sharon was also found to have “personal responsibility,” and he was ordered to resign or be removed as defense minister. Sharon resigned, protesting his innocence, but he was allowed to stay in the cabinet as a minister without portfolio. He remained near the center of Israeli politics in the ensuing years.

Sourced from http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108009.html.

Considering that what occurred at Sabra and Shatila were categorically crimes against humanity, to be held "personally responsible" for them does constitute a kind of conviction for these crimes, though naturally justice in Israel, a state without a constitution, is a different affair to the civilised world.

So I will do the mature thing and extend a mea culpa, but interestingly your beloved state looks worse now than had you lefy my admittedly sloppy error, which was a failure of memory rather than intent, to stand.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

Once again David, you show your ignorance (or is it willful lying and fact distortion) and of course your inability to copy/paste.

"Daniel (sic) Neff" eh?

Why don't you read the actual report and it's findings instead of relying on lousy reporting. Actually, don't waste your time, we all know you won't be able to understand it.

Shaun

“Israel, a state without a constitution, is a different affair to the civilised world.”
What about Canada and New Zealand?

Go ask CODEPINK what they think about fighting with the police in Tehran?

greenmamba

DZinn: Iran started the "nuke Israel" threats in 2001 as I pointed out previously. Their government along with many others in the ME actively promotes Israeli and Jew hatred. This is what Israel reacts to. Your turning it around shows your desire to attack Israel no matter what.

I tend to defend against such unfair attacks as I have always done. I suppose as a child you went with the bully crowd.

TC

David Zinn says:

"I’d be quite interested in how anyone, whether it’s Kenneth Kitchens or Moses, could possibly argue that the Old Testament is in any way reliable."

Since you say you're quite interested I recommend your reading Kenneth Kitchen's "On The Reliability of the Old Testament". I think you'll find this a good deal more impressive than Avalos's work, and there are chapters devoted to the evidence for David and the temple. I don't have to get my information from documentaries on the National Geographic Channel. But thanks for the tip.

I'm surprised about how someone could seriously think that Karsh is a "vulgar propagandanist" but that e.g. Hass, Finkelstein and Fisk are not.

Anyhow, I'm not inclined to continue debating here because the relevance of my points is being missed. For example, my point about the Hebrew Bible was not to defend my believing in certain miracles, but to support the Jewish connection to the land; and my point about this connection was not to justify present Jewish claims to the land, but my talk of the "reestablishment" of Israel, etc.

The Blacklisted Dictator

David Zinn,

You write that you are "actually planning to leave South Africa myself, hopefully sooner rather than later, because of professional reasons and not due to some ineluctable hatred of the country."

I find this extremely strange. Post apartheid South Africa is only 15 years old and you are leaving for selfish professional reasons! There is massive social deprivation and you haven't the wherewithal to help to alleviate it? What sort of person are you?

Do you not realize that if everybody followed your egocentric example there would be nobody to ensure that South Africa remains "morally superior" to Israel?

I reckon that you think that the writing is on the wall, and that is the real reason why you have decided to pack your bags.

But since you invited me to pack my bags, perhaps I can go round to your house and help you pack yours?

The Blacklisted Dictator

South Africa's dwindling democracy
Ryan Rutherford
16 June 2009

http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?oid=133325&sn=Marketingweb+detail


On the face of things it might seem strange to discuss the dire dwindling of democracy in South Africa. After all, the most recent South African national elections boasted a 78% voter turnout and there were thankfully precious few reports of voting irregularities or strong arm tactics à la Mugabe. But such is life in a country where a populist, messianic, and undeniably demagogic figure has seemingly swept down from higher altitudes and been greeted with the sort of adulation usually reserved for individuals who make a habit of walking on water.

So much of the last election was taken up with the persona of one man, who predictably became South Africa's fourth democratic president, that issues were largely reduced to a background sideshow. Even the so-called official opposition even went so far as to launch an ill-judged "Stop Zuma" campaign in the closing stages of the election. Now that Mr Zuma is safely ensconced in the Union Buildings the country is in the midst of a maelstrom of public protest across a range of societal sectors. These include the recent protest over the SABC's incomparable incompetence by the Television Industry Emergency Coalition and doctors striking about the lack of implementation of the Occupation Specific Dispensation.

Public participation as collective action is in reality and cliché the sine qua non of any democracy, the most vital driver of positive social change the world has ever known. No society ever became more civilised and generally decent because of angels whispering sweet sibilant nothings into the ears of cloistered leaders. Mass action has ever been, and will most likely ever so remain, the means for the greatest number to achieve the greatest good. This is the positive side of the surge in protest action, but there is also a sinister side, which takes us back to Zuma's centrality in South Africa's political landscape over the last few years.

For examples of sinister overtones one could look to the Western Cape where Cosatu have bandied about the idea that they will make the province "ungovernable", harking back to Apartheid-era rhetoric and threatening 80s-style social unrest. It should not go unnoticed that this is both the only province which the ANC failed to capture on April 22 and the only one deemed worthy of such fiery language courtesy the ANC and its affiliates.

The MK veterans protested outside Premier Helen Zille's office ostensibly over her all male cabinet, but this group, and all the other ANC Alliance partners, was strangely silent over S'bu Ndebele appointing just one female to the KZN provincial cabinet in 2004, as S'thembiso Msomi pointed out in the Sunday Times. Let's not even mention the ghastly war of words between Zille, the MK Veterans and the ANC Youth League bozos who make kindergarteners with learning difficulties look like regular Einsteins in comparison.

Recently the Young Communist League threatened to disrupt exams at UNISA because they are dissatisfied with the alleged incompetence of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Barney Pityana. This is the same Pityana who has been highly vocal in his criticism of President Zuma and delivered a scathing speech about the man in March 2008 which predictably raised the ire of many in the ANC, particularly then president of the ANC Youth League Fikile Mbalula.

The same week that the Young Communist League announced their intended disruption of UNISA exams they protested in support of Judge John Hlophe in his battle with the Judicial Service Commission. The same judge, lest we forget, known to be a staunch Zumaphile who has been accused of interfering with the Constitutional Court on our current president's behalf.

Let's also not fail to recall that President Zuma is suing cartoonist Zapiro (aka Jonathan Shapiro) for R12 million in two separate lawsuits as well as still considering libel action against British newspaper The Guardian for an unflattering piece written by Simon Jenkins. Shortly before the election Archbishop Desmond Tutu ruefully observed how unfortunately vast was the gulf between US president Barack Obama and the presidential prospect facing South Africans. He apparently wasn't "looking forward to a Zuma presidency", a sentiment in which he was certainly not alone. A man of Tutu's impeccable moral character was attacked from many quarters not so much for the substance of his remarks, but that he had the temerity to actually articulate such critical sentiments in the first place. The often deranged cacophony emanating from certain sectors of our country amounted to one big "Shut up, Arch...if you know what's good for you". To call the episode merely disgraceful would be far kinder than any of its participants deserve.

Recently the South African Security Forces Union (Sasfu) publicly called for the axing of Chief of the SA Navy, Vice-Admiral Johannes Refiloe Mudimu, who apparently remarked that President Zuma "is not educated". Considering that by his own admission Jacob Zuma has had no formal education this would appear to be merely a statement of fact. The spokesperson for the union was quoted in a recent radio report as saying that the reason that Sasfu is demanding Mudimu's dismissal is because his remarks jeopardise national security. Apparently exercising one's freedom of expression amounts to a direct threat to the security of a nation that purports to be democratic.

Taking the foregoing into account, one does begin to wonder whether the description of South Africa as a democracy is becoming ever more quaint and old fashioned by the day. This impression is only augmented when also considering that loyalty oaths have been mooted and recent newspaper reports noted the possibility that portraits of President Zuma will become a fixture in classrooms across the land. A country where no one can criticise the president for fear of widespread retribution, where the media is muzzled or self censors to remain on the good side of the powers that be, and where loyalty to the state and its leader is mandatory, cannot call itself a democracy without heavy doses of irony or fantastical flights of delusion.

Indulging in darker visions one may be forgiven for suggesting that South Africa is drifting towards a North Korea style society where images of ‘Our Dear Leader' will be ubiquitous on posters and television; where constant devotion to the nation's beloved autocrat is diligently demanded and not a word of dissent escapes from any citizen's lips; not even in sotto voce, lest said citizen end up in a labour camp that makes Gitmo look like the Hilton.

Technically, of course, North Korea is still ruled by the dearly departed potentate Kim Il-Sung who is not only still referred to as the "Great Leader" but holds the enviable post of "Eternal President". Kim Il-Sung's son Kim Jong-Il is presumably a sort of place holder and referred to with the slightly less lofty title of "Dear Leader".

Alright, so we're not yet ruled by a dead guy, and there are still the odd trappings of democracy such as a nominally free press, parliamentary procedure and elections. However, in a time when obeisance to the big man in charge is becoming increasingly obligatory if one hopes to avoid public censure, the question of "for how much longer?" doesn't seem in the least bit inappropriate.

Ryan Rutherford is a freelance writer based in Cape Town

The Blacklisted Dictator

Davis Zinn,

Please spill some Zinn beanz... what do you think about the above article by Ryan Rutherford? Does it give South Africa some sort of political "moral high-ground" ?

(see Davis Zinn starring as Ryan Rutherford)

David Zinn

Oh, Mr Dictator, you've caught me out...Noooooot!!

I'm actually very well acquainted with Mr Rutherford, in fact, and anyone who is would know that he is quite the gloom-and-doom monger, as the article indicates. Although I'm quite good friends with him, and I dearly hope he doesn't read this, he is something of an elitist snob who thinks that the election of Zuma was the death knell of South Africa. How much longer he'll remain in the country is anyone's guess, and I suspect he might go for good.

Not that I feel comfortable divulging all this information, but my own reasons for wanting to go abroad have to do with my particular field, molecular biology. I recently handed in my Phd dissertation and am still waiting for my supervisor to get back to me with corrections, etc. The prospects in South Africa for this particular area are rather scant, to say the least, though I am looking around. Probably has something to do with the generally dismal nature of the world economy right now. As noted, I have no intention of leaving permanently, just think the work experience overseas will be good on both a professional and personal level.

You are probably referring to Mike Berger's blog where he raised the issue of me being Ryan Rutherford. The reality is much more mundane and, unfortunately, doesn't paint me in the best of lights. You see I sent that lengthy electronic epistle to my friend Ryan for his input, at least in terms of the language and spelling, after all he's the writer and not me, and so I was over at his place for something else and we sent it off to old Mike from Rutherford's e-mail account, not giving it a second thought. What Mike failed to mention in his blog was that I sent a follow up message to him from my own e-mail account, namely [email protected], and you're happy to contact me on that address, though please no hate mail.

As for the article, I mean there's some merit but it does seem a tad hyperbolic, don't you think? South Africa resembling North Korea? Hardly, but that's Ryan for you.

The Blacklisted Dictator

David Zinn,

Well.. publicly calling your mate Ryan "an elitist snob" says more about you than it does about him. If that is how you treat one of your friends who has the patience to edit the drivel that you write, I certainly wouldn't want to be one of your enemies!

David Zinn

Ha ha, you're so right, Dictator, that was somewhat unkind of me, though in my defence I meant it in a tongue in cheek manner, at least mostly, and I don't think he'd be all that displeased with the description.

You're also right that it probably is very unfair of me to send him some of my wayward scribblings, but as you well know I need all the help I can get.

Take care, been lovely engaging with you.

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