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« "What a quite remarkable man" | Main | More on ideological apology for terror »

January 23, 2004

Comments

Anthony

Well said Oliver. Hearing her defend herself on the television this morning, throwing in Tom Hurndall into the mix, was quite sickening. I personally think she has made the same mistake as Kilroy-Silk by suggesting that Palestinians are not able to take responsibility for their actions.

Barry Meislin

I think you've spent way too much intellectual energy on this particular phenomenon.

The facts are as follows. For a large segment of today's moral arbiters:
- Resisting Israel has become a moral imperative.
- Ditto for Israel's supporters.
- Killing Israelis has become a moral act.
- Ditto for Israel's supporters. One can assume
that Jews are supporters of Israel. Killing Jews
has beome a moral act.
- Glorifying those who kill Israelis, their supporters, and Jews has become a moral imperative.
- Art that commemorates those who kill Israelis,
et al., is of the highest aesthetic worth.
- Soon, if it hasn't already, killing Israelis
et al., will be viewed as an aesthetic act of hte highest value (as well as a moral act).

To sum up:
- Anti-semitism is politically correct; anti-Zionism is a virtue.

Aside from a few twists here and there, things are not all that dissimilar to event 60-65 years ago. Morally. Esthetically.

Then, the target was sufficiently reviled, generally, to make it hard for most Europeans to lose much sleep. However, the target was ultimately broadened, so that more and more Europeans (not all, to be sure) did start losing more and more sleep.

So what will it be this time around?

Vivienne Raper

You've used the whole 'the people carrying out the acts are not the impoverished' thing before. It's something of a red herring.

Although in some cases it is (generalisations are never fruitful), it's often the young, educated and idealistic who do radical things (traditionally students). They have the belief that their actions will make the difference, the time/money to be able to take time out to plot/consider and get involved which you don't have if struggling for existence. They have the arrogance of education but an absence of life experience that tends to moderate your views and allow you to see it from someone elses point of view. They also frequently tend to have a lack of family commitments that prevents them globe trotting and doing risky/suicidal things [there are a fair few Palestinian suicide bombers who don't fit this profile but many Al-Quaida do].

They get radicalised, however, by looking at the impoverished/oppressed. It makes them very, very angry...

Andrew Ian Dodge

Yes but Ms Tonge and others continue to claim that those who do the bombing are impoverished and use this as their excuse for committing acts of barbarity. If they are are not impoverished this makes this excuse...wrong.

Anthony

Many of the 911 Saudis deliberately cut themselves off from their families.

Anthony

"So what will it be this time around?"

The broadened targets are already apparent and under attack: moderate Muslims and Western Liberal democracy.

Andy Richards

Ms Tonge was on London local radio this morning and refused to debate the issue with the presenter, Jon Gaunt. She spent most of the time trying to talk over him and ended by putting the phone down mid-interview. Before she did that she prefaced a sentence with 'As a doctor...' On being questioned on this she felt that her medical background gave her a more acute understanding of human beings(maybe Dr Shipman had similar views). It sounded to me like a desperate attempt to pull rank on her inferiors who do not have her 'deep understanding'. She said in the speech that got her into trouble that she is an emotional person and that therefore she could imagine volunteering to be a suicide bomber in the right circumstances. She said this as if one thing necessarily led to the other. Well I, too, can sympathise with the Palestinians and I, too, can imagine being a Palestinian and feeling that a great injustice has been done. But I cannot make that further leap to imagining detonating myself in a restaurant, whether or not there were any victims. My life is too precious and my enemies' children's lives are too innocent. But maybe I am just not sensitive enough.

David Duff

Welcome back to Miss Raper from whatever took her off the blogosphere so abruptly but a pity she is is still spouting nonsense. The last suicide bomber was a married, middle-class woman with two children!

I am reminded of Simon Scharma's history of the murderous French revolution in which he pointed out that far from being an uprising by the proletariat, it was almost entirely directed and led by the middle-classes.

As for the despicable Ms. Tonge, there is only one pertinent question for her to answer and that is: When you plan your mission, Ms. Tonge, which of the usual targets will you choose, an infants' school, a commuter bus or perhaps a night-club packed with youngsters enjoying themselves?
David Duff

Matthew

Andrew,

Do you not think your contribution to this discussion is fatally (poor choice of words) undermined by your own 'understanding' of murderous thugs?

http://www.rightwingnews.com/archives/week_2003_08_17.PHP#001235

Or are some murderous thugs more deserving than others?

Matthew

She's now been sacked (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3421669.stm).

Your influence in the Lib Dems is truly remarkable.

Tim Newman

"They get radicalised, however, by looking at the impoverished/oppressed. It makes them very, very angry..."

If that was the case, you'd expect some to go into terrorism and some to go into peaceful politics. The Palestinians seem unable to generate enough numbers in the latter to reign in the former.

Andy Richards

Matthew

I in no way expressed sympathy with 'murderous thugs' unless you believe that all Palestinians are murderous thugs. What I said was that it is possible to imagine someones feelings of injustice without necessarily condoning terrorism. One can feel aggrieved without that inevitably ending in an explosion.

Perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word understanding. It is possible in to understand why someone kills. The act of understanding does not confer approval. I appreciate that the word 'understand' is sometimes used to convey empathy. That is a debased meaning and is not what I intended in my post.

Alasdair Robinson

I am glad that she was sacked. For an MP to state that she would entertain the idea of murdering innocent civilians is a demonstration that she is clearly unfit for public office.

angua

Bejamin, the two possible positions are:

1. Suicide bombers PERSONALLY have experiences such deprivations (as in the West haven't) that killing themselves while killing civilians is a reasonable position to take. It's like cannibalism during famine -- awful, but really the only option available.

2. The general situation is so awful that even people not directly affected have no choice by commit murder-suicide. Hence the British suicide bombers at the Mike's Place bombing, for example -- if you get het up about some injustice somewhere in the world, then killing yourself and some civilians is a fair way to deal with it.

People ascribing position (1) to the good doctor are actually being generous. It merely means she is ignorant of facts (as Oliver's pointed out).

Position (2) means that any opression anywhere is fair game for anyone. I disapprove of the latest attack on a Jewish school bus in a Paris suburb, so I think I shall blow up the Alliance Francaise here in Canada. Why not? I am offended on behalf of the starving Zimbabweans, so why not explode at the UK consulate? It's like choosing cannibalism if you are lost next door to a supermarket. Yeah, you could just go shopping, but why bother?

If what the good doctor really is saying is that suicide bombing is a reasonable reaction to opression and starvation BY PEOPLE NOT DIRECTLY AFFECTED, this opens up the door on suicide bombings at any time, in any place, for practically any reason, as long as you are angry enough. Are you saying that this is a more reasonable position for her to take than (1)?

(Incidentally, you may think that the Occupied Territories have the worst opression ever, and so it trumps all, but I personally beilive that the Chechens have it worse, for example. Boom goes my local Russian Orthodox church! Can you tell me that my anger at the opression was not justified?)

angua

Oh, and surprisingly enough, the longer the intifada goes on, the poorer the Palestinans become. It's almost as if it was counter-productive to employment to keep killing your main employer! I have no doubt that the povery figures were correct at the time. At one time, Palestinians had a living standard just slightly lower than the Israeli figures.

angua

I am not saying those two are good positions to have, Benjamin. I accept neither of them, as well -- you'll be pleased to know that the neighbourhood Russian Orthodox church is safe.

I am saying those are two only possible interpretations of Dr Tonge's words. If you have another one, feel free to share.

Andrew Ian Dodge

Matthew, I was wondering when someone was going to compare the self-defence with a gun of a teenager who is being bullied and a Palestinian suicide bomber. I think if you actually read that piece again you would realise that I do not condone the behaviour of those at Columbine for reasons outlined there. In fact, I believe I criticised them for not targeting their tormetors specificailly, but targetting all insundry (ie collective guilt)...much like my condemnation of Palestinian suicide bombers who target civilians and not military targets. There is a significant difference, no matter how much I disagree with the Palestinians, between the targeting of the Israeli military and targeting random civilians in buses. Can you not grasp the difference there?

So to answer your question: no.

GrimReaper

It is hardly necessary to make a moral case against Palestinian terrorism; the fact is that it is totally counterproductive. As previous comments have shown, Israel is the main source of employment and income for Palestinians and so, inevitably, the main result of the intifada has been to impoverish the Palestinians.
If Jenny Tonge could not see this after visiting the MiddleEast, she is far too stupid to be taken seriously.

Richard

All these arguments about the background of the suicide bombers is missing the point. To understand why somebody does something, you must be able to follow the logic of their actions to their intended conclusion. It is the outcome that is important not the cause. In this respect bombings can only be 'understood' if you accept that their perpetrators do not desire peace. The weight of evidence of Israeli positions hardening, of the ever strengthening position of hardliners and collapse of the moderates means that they can only be seen logically in that context.
However I'm sure that large numbers of people who claim to understand suicide bombers (a la Jenny Tonge) will equally assert that the bombers do in fact desire peace, and in so doing will be claiming to understand something which is illogical - a contradiction.

angua

If you kill Benjamin's comments, then I start sounding (even more) like a loon for replying to them.

I'm jest sayin'

Oliver Kamm

I'm happy to place on record that you are not a loon. Your correspondent, Benjamin, breached the editorial policy of this blog, and in line with my announced policies in such cases I removed his entire contribution.

Squander Two

Oliver,

I must disagree with you on just one point:

"reticence in proclaiming one’s views is much the more honourable course where those views stand outside the bounds of civilised political discourse."

No, I think it's better that we know the opinions of candidates. I'd rather those opinions were out in the open to be voted upon than secretly influencing policy.

Peter Bockind

Since the avowed goal of the Palestinian terrorists is the death of all Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel, Tonge's understanding of "suicide bombers" is appalling.
These are not solitary acts of desperation but part and parcel of a long term political strategy,each atrocity planned,sanctioned and financed by the terrorist groups that control Palestine.
Why won't these politicians who "understand" terror not understand that they are vulnerable to the same mechanism? Goodbye democracy.

Benjamin

I see you deleted my comments. Obviously you are not interested in opposing views. How undemocratic of you - it speaks volumes.

Perhaps you would like to explain how I breached any rules.

Benjamin

This board is a sham. I have had more interesting debates with a hamster. My post clearly was about Kamm's use of statistics and my view of Tonge's comments. I have posted similar comments in other bloggs without censure, and with some agreement.

I have posted in very right wing bloggs where everyone disagreed but the posts were not deleted. I insulted no one. I just gave my views.

I have no doubt this post will be deleted too. Kamm not only writes stuff of dubious quality but he also does not like debate - witness the fact that nearly every post in this thread agrees with him.

I will go elswhere where lively debate is entertained, where there is a less oppressive atmosphere, and people have a right to express their opinions and thoughts without censure.

Benjamin

Final post on this blog (it will be deleted anyway, no doubt.)

I have to say, the whole debate about Tonge is very depressing. I have been posting on blogs defending Tonge who has been personally abused, and her comments completely misunderstood. What a world we live in!

Why can't anyone UNDERSTAND anything? Why do we live in world where all we do is fling mud at each other, like little children?

Jenny Tonge was saying that she understood how some people in dire circumstances can be attracted to suicide bombing, acts of violence. These acts cannot be seperated from the social and political circumstances in which they occur.

THIS IS BLATANTLY OBVIOUS.

This is NOT condoning their action. It is merely trying to understand motivation. If we cannot try to understand motivation, broader issues, we will all go to hell on handcart in this world.

Tonge used the example of herself to illustrate the point - that she, given those circumstances, may consider that dreadful course of action. Whether we like it or not, people do horrendous things.

Condemnation of horrendous acts is correct - but it is NOT enough if we are to solve the real problems.

Now, you lot, carry on as before, work yourself into lather of moral indignation and self righteous outrage. But somehow its all blind.

When you wake up next day the same old problems will exist, and Kamm will move on to the next Liberal Democrat to attack.

MeTooThen

The lie that is the so called "root cause" of suicide mass murder is well described here:

http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040120-121444-6737r.htm

..."The Associated Press, citing Israeli security officials, reported yesterday that Raiyshi was an adulteress forced to carry out the attack to restore her family's honor. "

Surely at some time, perhaps after there are similar attacks in Paris or its suburbs, that the "intifada" is part of a larger phenomenon that is the death cult of Islamofascism.

And this, from the same report:

..."The officials told AP on condition of anonymity that Raiyshi's illicit lover recruited her, giving her the suicide bomb belt. Palestinian security officials said her husband drove her to Erez to carry out the attack."

Whether manifest by "honor killings" or "honor rape," the driving force behind them and the genocidal war against the Zionist Entity (read Jews) is the same.

Paul Berman in his excellent monograph, "Terror and Liberalism," reveals this with astonishing clarity.

Norman Geras and Oliver Kamm are correct in their formulation of Dr. Tonge's murderous and shameful statement. The surprise is not that she thought such things, or that she even expressed her beliefs publicly. Rather, what does astound is that Dr. Tonge still enjoys significant support, despite the swift and appropriate repudiation given her by her own party.

Lastly, her characterization of her opinions as coming from her experience, "as a doctor" are especially vile.

Jackie D

What I found more sickening -- not to mention totally inane -- was her bringing motherhood (and grandmotherhood) into it. As if blowing yourself up and kill as many innocents as possible, leaving your children motherless, is somehow in keeping with the maternal instinct and the duties of parenthood.

Martin

I found many of the "Speak Your Brains" comments on the BBC's Have Your Say site very depressing. If people can't be bothered to read the news story, why do they trouble themselves to comment? There seems to be the impression that Dr Tonge was censured/sacked for speaking her mind, not because her opinions are incompatible with the post she holds. It reminds me of the impression one got from the press at the time that David Irving was in the dock during the libel trail.

As for Benjamin, I've said it in Harry's comments and I'll say it again - why not start your own blog?

Vivienne Raper

> The last suicide bomber was a married, middle-class woman with two children!

I send 'tend to be'. I didn't say 'always are'. There is a difference. Generalisations are inevitably wrong - the world is a complex place.

This is, incidentally, why I gave up blogging. I got really bored with people presuming what I thought (without asking me) and then misinterpreting what I said when I told them.

It's boringly partisan, doesn't encourage the moderation of views, debate or people backing down when they are wrong and is generally unconstructive. It's pointlessly black and white, unnuanced and generally 'ya boo'.

I really felt like starting a blog anonymously without expressing my political affiliation at all. If no one knew I was a Lib Dem, you may be surprised what I actually think if you bothered to read it instead of reading it how YOU THINK I THINK.

Furthermore, I think on my own - I don't sign up to the opinions of everyone in the party. As such, I get bored of random rubbish being dropped on me which I don't sign up to at all. However, I know when assaults on the party are justified and when they are just malicious. Most of them emitting from the blogosphere are factually incorrect or just malevolent. This makes me very reticient to say anything when I know that the party is wrong or I disagree. I believe it is similar in 'real' politics - it crushes accountability, freedom of thought or genuine progress.

Who are you trying to convince anyhow? Most of the electorate don't read blogs.

Benjamin

METOOTHEN'S comments is an example of the reasons of why the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is so difficult to solve.

One one side we have a group of anti-Jewish people with abbhorent and cruel methods of bombing, a contorted religion/ideology and whole bunch of propaganda.

On the other side we have group of anti-Islamic people, quite preapred to call their enemy fascist (the other side calls them fascist too!), a technologically advanced state security and military machine at hand, a twisted form of religion/ideology, and propaganda.

Its interesting that you pick out ONE report suggesting that the suicide bomber was carrying out the attack to restore honour to her family. Even if this is true, that does not divorce the bombing from the wider social and political reality of the territories.

You tactics of simply calling this bombers "Islamo-fascists" etc is an age old technique of trying to divorce these attacks from the wider reality. By demonising them further you try to make out they have nothing at all to do with any situation in the territories, or anything to do with politics - they are simply, nutters, fascists, criminals.

That's all very well, but the technique is hardly likely to work.

Benjamin

MARTIN

You entirely miss the point. I could quite easily start my own blog. That has nothing to do with the blatantly undemocratic and unjustifiable censorship on this blog, which I have a right to protest about.

Incidently, one of the posts Kamm deleted questioned his use of statistics, and his misrepresentation of Tonge's statement (in my view.)

He also deleted a seperate post I made questioning the notion that only a third of the population of the Palestinian territories are in poverty. I quoted both Israeli and Palestinian sources saying that the actual figure is nearer 80%.

I have just done another check. According to a recent World Bank report, 60 percent of the population of the West Bank and Gaza live under a poverty line of US$2 per day.

Another source: According to the UN, 66.5 percent of Palestinian households are living below the poverty line—57.8% in the West Bank and 84.6% in Gaza.

The estimates I have got are roughly between 60 and 80%.

Even if you take the lower figure, that's nearly DOUBLE the figure Kamm quoted - this further undermines his use of that source.

Incidently I gleaned some of those figures from a poster in Harry's Place - and his post was NOT deleted!

Martin: Do you support such censorship? If so, one wonders if you agree with the statement at Harry's Place that says:

"Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear"

Oliver Kamm

Just for the information of other readers, Benjamin - who has posted irate remarks above demanding to know whay I deleted his comments - wrote to me indigantly in the same vein. Though I had posted him an explanation, he evidently hadn't seen it, so I restated it and will now quote it here. I hope it makes my editorial policies clear. Anyone who considers them unfair is free to write to me to say so, but it will be a waste of effort.

Dear Benjamin - I think I did post you an explanation, but am happy to restate the point. The comments section in my blog takes the form of a moderated discussion (with me as the moderator). I'm very pleased to have diverse, and indeed strongly critical, opinions voiced there, but I do hold certain editorial policies, which I've stated publicly before. The most obvious one (which isn't a point relevant to your contributions) is that I don't allow any profane or obscene remarks, and if anyone posts to that effect then I delete not only the offending passage but the entire contribution. Another is if the contributor accuses another participant of knowingly posting false information. Accusations of deliberate dishonesty are not allowed in Parliament, and they're not allowed in my blog either. For that reason (it happened to be me you were accusing of lying, but it might as well have been someone else contributing) I deleted your entire contribution to the thread, in line with my stated policy. I have done the same thing in the past to posters who agree with my views, so you shouldn't think it was anything to do with the political complexion of my blog. I don't know what other blogs' policies are, but those are mine.
Benjamin

KAMM:

Why did you delete ALL my posts rather than just the 'offending' one?

Benjamin

Anyway, Oliver (I will call you Oliver from now on) I will repost with the offending remark taken out.

Benjamin

Oliver Kamm says this on his website:

"New research by Claude Berrebi, a graduate student at Princeton, has found that 13 percent of Palestinian suicide bombers are from impoverished families, while about a third of the Palestinian population is in poverty. A remarkable 57 percent of suicide bombers have some education beyond high school, compared with just 15 percent of the population of comparable age."

It seems to me the salient point here is that a THIRD of the Palestinian population is in poverty - that indeed, is probably a conservative estimate.

Its wrong to suggest that Tonge was suggesting that Palestinian bombers are all poverty striken - her link was to the general SITUATION of poverty, oppression, humiliation etc.

Tonge talks about general conditions, and does not make a direct causal link between poverty and suicide bombing. She did not say that all suicide bombers were poverty striken.

In my view the following statistics on poverty in the territories are more reliable:

Major General Amos Gilad, Coordinator of Government Activities in the West Bank and Gaza, stated that 80% of Gaza residents live in poverty.

The Palestinian Health Development Information and Policy Institute that 75% of all Palestinians lived below the poverty line of $2 per day.

Two further sources:

According to a recent World Bank report, 60 percent of the population of the West Bank and Gaza live under a poverty line of US$2 per day.

According to the UN, 66.5 percent of Palestinian households are living below the poverty line—57.8% in the West Bank and 84.6% in Gaza.

The estimates I have got are roughly between 60 and 80%.

Even if you take the lower figure, that's nearly DOUBLE the figure Oliver quoted from his source.

In my view, his source has questionable accuracy.
I also view Oliver's use of the source as questionable since I believe it's based on an erroneous interpretation of Tonge's comments.


John Kozak

Your borrowed arguments don't actually address Tonge's remarks at all.

First, you quote her as saying Palestinian attacks were in some sense motivated by a "daily barrage of humiliation and aggravation", then cite material arguing that terrorists are not "driven to extremes by economic deprivation". Humiliation and aggravation (plain or sic'd ) are not economic phenomena: indeed the richer one is the greater the opportunity for humiliation.

Secondly, Michael Walzer's piece is connected to Tonge's remarks in a purely syntactic way; they are plainly talking about quite different issues.

John Kozak

Your borrowed arguments don't actually address Tonge's remarks at all.

First, you quote her as saying Palestinian attacks were in some sense motivated by a "daily barrage of humiliation and aggravation", then cite material arguing that terrorists are not "driven to extremes by economic deprivation". Humiliation and aggravation (plain or sic'd ) are not economic phenomena: indeed the richer one is the greater the opportunity for humiliation.

Secondly, Michael Walzer's piece is connected to Tonge's remarks in a purely syntactic way; they are plainly talking about quite different issues.

Oliver Kamm

Benjamin - Because when the broad and permissive editorial policies of this forum are breached, it is my stated policy to remove the material in its entirety and not just the offending passage. If you don't wish to fall foul of that policy, then the remedy is in your hands.

Squander Two

Benjamin,

You seem to be under the impression that the term "Islamo-fascist" is used simply to demonise Islam. It isn't. It is used to distinguish moderate Islam from fascistic Islamist extremism.

Furthermore, yes, we're all aware that the Palestinian leadership also call Israel a fascist state. The difference between calling the PA fascists and calling Israel a fascist state is that the first accusation is true and the second one isn't. This isn't a matter of opinion, because fascism can be accurately defined. Compare the definition of fascism with Israeli government policy, and you see that they don't match.

And I knwo you're unlikely to believe this, but Israelis and Jews aren't generally anti-Islam. They're just anti-being-killed. Given a genuine chance to make peace with Islamic states, Israel will take it. They did with Egypt.

Benjamin

SQUANDER TWO:

I never endorsed ANY use of the term "fascist" by any side. I never said one was accurate and one innacurate.

My point is quite different; that the use of it is neither useful, productive, or interesting. It develops into yet another term of abuse to be thrown by both sides, a source of hatred, irrespective of its truth or not.

The term "Islamo-fascist" is an interesting one. I am sure you are perfectly happy with YOUR motives in using it - you use it only as a term to distinguish moderate Muslims from Islamic fascists. I am sure you feel morally correct in that view. But its also very naive.

In the real world there are people who DO use the term to slur all Muslims, who perpetrate an us v them mentality, and generally inflame and worsen the situation.

Also, the exclusive use of the term "Islamo-fascists", without the explicit acknowledgment of moderate Muslims, may eventually risk tarring all Islam with the same brush - since "fascism" becomes associated with Islam through constant repitition of that phrase and the use of the hyphen.

I am sure you are not guilty of that either, are you?

But you are guilty, in my opinion, of a certain naivete about how language and psychology work.

Giles

Hmm. This doesn’t seem to be the sort of blog where you just bang up some waggish comment, I had better be careful. To get back to the original post, there seem to be a lot of long words used by some people to say; "Terrorist = evil = no further consideration of motivation of individuals concerned necessary.” That's a nice comfortable box to put them in. I can’t pretend to have read all the theory or statistics on terrorism, neither obviously has Ms Tonge. That does not mean that she is an apologist for terrorism. She did not seem to be commenting on the motivation of those directing and recruiting terrorists but on the poor schmucks that are malleable or angry or desperate enough to wear the jackets. She was not commenting on the strategy or morality of the commanders but on how someone could get into the position of being willing to carry out their wishes. Is that such a hard distinction to make? I don’t live in Israel/Palestine so how can I know what is going on, but that does not stop me acknowledging that there is something in the situation that leads to a neat orderly queue of volunteers. So on one level she has to be correct. Swedish people are not killing themselves in order to kill unknown Finns, there must be an emotional driver for the individuals separate from the strategic considerations of those that train them. I have never wanted to kill anyone in my life but I can conceive of situations when I might feel driven, rightly or wrongly, to want to do so. Does that make me an apologist for murderers? How on earth can we suggest solutions if we can’t speculate on the motivations of those concerned without a heap of ordure on our heads and a P45? I cannot comment on how well informed Ms Tonge is, but that is not the issue. Do I get the sledgehammer now?

Benjamin

GILES:

You won't get a sledgehammer from me. You seem to be on the right lines.

Anyway, sledgehammers do not help proper debate.

MeTooThen

Benjamin, yours is not a serious argument. You do not offer a factual challenge to the claim that there does indeed exist Islamofascism. To decry "name calling" or "labeling" does not at all address the realities of the methodology, ideology, or goals of the Islamofascists. Yours is a diversion into "sensitivity of the Other" or the postmodern eschewing of "labels," not a defense of suicide mass murder.

Whether the goals are restoring the Caliphate or Pan-Arab National Socialism, the methodologies used, and the goals of both, are the same.

Both the Pan-Arabists, Arab National Socialists, and Islamists received training and support from the German National Socialists in the last mid-century.

Both are State sponsored, centrally controlled, and highly dictatorial. In both there is a brutal crushing of dissent.

Each relies on religious-ethnic-National identification for its followers.

Each demonizes and ascribes supernatural powers, and conspiracies to the Jews-Zionists to assuage the rage of their impoverished and oppressed populations.

In both there is mass and intensive indoctrination of children (grotesquely, the Palestinians use children as human shields and human bombs).

Both use torture, rape, summary executions, and a secret police-militia to maintain their power.

In each system there is absent a free and transparent judiciary, press, or lawmaking body. Rather, all are tightly and absolutely controlled by the State to serve the State's interest.

And in both, which was my point, the deification of death has become the ultimate source of worship by both the State and its people.

Islamofascism is just that. Read Paul Berman's "Terror and Liberalism" and then offer a factual counter-argument.

Lastly Benjamin, where is the "Peace Now!" movement amongst the Palestinians or their Arab brethren?

"Peace Now!" in Israel is dead. It was killed by the intifada.

The reality for the Palestinians is that until they give up their genocidal fantasy of destroying Israel, and murdering the Jews (Judeocide and Anti-Zionsim are shared but distinct goals), there will never be a just peace.

Benjamin

ME TOO THEN:

I figured that your response would be like that.

Go into a long list of the crimes of Islamic extremism, link it to the Nazis etc etc. All regulation stuff. Entirely predictable. And of course not one word about the future.

Palestinians on the other side could go into long list of the crimes of the Israelis, with equal venom.

You say:

You do not offer a factual challenge to the claim that there does indeed exist Islamofascism.

Well, why should I? I never denied it. It was never my intent to deny it or confirm it.

But your response is symptomatic of the classic and self perpetuating folly of both sides. The routine vilification and demonisation of the enemy which gets no one anywhere.

waf

Benjamin

So, what do you suggest the Jews and Israelis do about the evil they must contend with ?

Benjamin

WAF:

Well, it's a difficult one, isn't it?

Can't claim to have all the answers. We need a reduction of fear and hattred on both sides, and the starting of an inclusive political process leading to a final resolution of the conflict. Hopefully this solution will freeze out extremism on both sides - make extremism redundant, in fact.

If you look at alot of the extremist anti-Jew literature that the Israelis rightly point to, well, you will find that the political space for that sort of thing is provided by the vacumn created by a lack of real political progress and the lack of a viable Palestinian state. We need a normalisation of the situation.

And if you look at the extremist Islamic groups, you will find they sprung up because of the failures of the nationalist and leftist movements in the past, and failures of other peace processes. So the cycle continues.

But if you look at these two articles here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1129104,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1129112,00.html

you will find the situation is not as black and white as it is portrayed sometimes - so hopefully there is hope!

Peace

MeTooThen

Benjamin surely you jest.

..."link it to the Nazis, etc. etc. All regulation stuff. Entirely predictable."

Regulation, predictable, perhaps, but decidedly true, undeniably true, irrefutably true.

And no, your intent is still not to understand the underpinnings of the conflict.

But then again, why should you want or try to argue against the reality that is Islamofascism?

And no, this is not folly. War is upon us.

Perhaps when Britain is bombed by jihadis in her pubs, or in the Tube, or will it be Brussels, or Berlin, or Amsterdam? And when the emergency services are called upon to clean the streets of flesh and bone, or to extinguish the fires when their churches are engulfed in flames, then perhaps you will begin to open your eyes to the problem, and then you will know the answer to your question "what is it for us to do?"

The Israelis are correct to defend their citizenry. I will leave it to their democratically elected leaders, transparent and accountable courts and congress, to decide how best to mount their national defense.

What will the Palestinians and their State sponsors who use them as their proxies, do to end their genocidal war against the Jews? What will they do to stop the culture of death that have so vigorously promoted and proliferated?

Therein lies the answer, WAF, that you seek.

waf

Benjamin

I read the first link, skimmed the second. I can't take any hope from it.

There are a lot of words there. What it seems to boil down to is that if the Jews go along with the extremists' demands, they might, if they're lucky, get a 'hudna'.

Now, as I understand it, that is a technical term for a temporary peace granted by the weaker party (!) whilst the weaker side gathers sufficient strength to overwhelm its enemy. This follows precedent from some incident engineered by Mahommet in Arabia. The article states that the 'hudna' would not be the end of their ambitions - so I think I'm correct in my interpretation of that word.

Therefore, when the 5 million jews eventually find themselves militarily weaker than the 100 million Arabs who surround them, I wonder what is going to happen ?

We have the Arab invasions of 1948 and 1967 as precedent. What's changed since then to offer any hope of a peaceful outcome ?

Benjamin

ME TOO THEN:

Thanks for your post.

Again, you interprete my response as a denial of your claims. That was not my intent. By "regulation" I meant its the usual stuff said by one side (the Israeli side.) You get a reverse litany from the other side.

I don't see where it progresses us. If I went on a pro-Palestinian blog, and I urged moderation, someone may say the same words as you:

"But then again, why should you want or try to argue against the reality that is Islamofascism?

And no, this is not folly. War is upon us."

All you need do is substitute the word "Islamofascism" with "Jewish/Israeli occupation/barbarity etc" (or whatever they will say).

Of course there are atrocities but the rest of your post is fear and loathing. Quite understandable, maybe. But there is no basis for peace in fear and loathing alone.

And no one has a monopoly on pain and suffering.

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