Undernews: The Silence Of The Liberal Lambs
Undernews Extract – The Lebanon War
Silence Of The Liberal Lambs
Compiled by By Prorev.com Editor Sam Smith
OF THE LIBERAL LAMBS
HOWARD KURTZ had an interesting roundup of liberal media avoidance of the Lebanon issue. One exception is the Nation: "It makes no sense for Israel to destroy the civil infrastructure of the Palestinians and of Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of its soldiers, or to further weaken the capacity of the governments of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority while at the same trying to hold them accountable for the actions of groups and militias they cannot reasonably control. This collective punishment of the Palestinian and Lebanese people is not only inhumane and should be condemned but also leads to more radicalization and to more chaos."
On the other hand, David Adesnik at Oxblog: "Clearly, something else besides complexity is preventing liberal bloggers from writing about Israel. I would suggest that there is a part of the online left which is so viciously anti-Israel that moderates have been intimidated into silence. Let's hope that this kind of viciousness never migrates off line, where it might threaten bipartisan support for Israel."
Matthew Yglesias, TPM Cafe: "I have to say that David Adesnik's account of why a number of major liberal bloggers have eerily silent on the Israel-Lebanon war strikes me as a bit absurd. He thinks the problem is that extreme anti-Israel voices on the interweb have intimidated more moderate folks out of expressing their more-supportive-of-Israeli-policy views which he imagines are akin to the lockstep support of Israeli policy that one hears from Democratic Party elected officials. I can't say for certain since I don't read minds, but I'm almost positive this is false.
"Suffice it to say that I know lots of liberals and talk to them. The number of rank-and-file liberal people who agree with the sorts of things Democrats have been saying about this is vanishingly small. And, indeed, what Israel is doing is certainly incompatible with the general liberal outlook on use of force questions. The Democrats aren't expressing a mainstream liberal view of the situation, they bowing to pressure from the Lobby That Must Not Be Named. If we heard more from liberal bloggers, we'd be hearing commentary that ranged from somewhat critical to very critical. So why don't we hear more?
"Two things, I think. For one thing, a lot of the liberal blogosphere is primarily interested in partisanship rather than robust ideological conflict. Support for Israel isn't a partisan issue in American politics, and liberals (like me) who criticize America's Israel policy are ginning up trouble for the Democratic coalition. So you're not going to see Daily Kos and blogs with a similar mentality making a big deal out of this. The other thing is that David's right to see an intimidation factor at work. But annoying and even maddening as hard-core Israel-bashers may be, there's nothing especially intimidating about a group of powerless and marginal email-senders and comment-writers. Israel's hard-core supporters in the United States, by contrast, are extremely powerful and in the habit of mounting broad-brush smear campaigns against people they dislike."
HIZBULLAH SUPPORT SOARS IN LEBANON, U.S. APPROVAL PLUMMETS
NICHOLAS BLANFORD, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR - According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis. Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead. The latest poll by the Beirut Center found that 8 percent of Lebanese feel the US supports Lebanon, down from 38 percent in January.
UN OBSERVERS TOLD ISRAELIS TEN TIMES TO STOP SHELLING NEAR THEIR POST
CANADIAN PRESS - UN observers in Lebanon telephoned the Israeli military 10 times in six hours to ask it to stop shelling near their position before an Israeli attack destroyed their border outpost, killing four observers and sparking widespread international anger with Israel. . .
The base near Khiam came under intense Israeli fire 21 times Tuesday - including 12 hits within 100 meters and four direct hits - from 1:20 p.m. until contact was lost with the four peacekeepers inside at 7:17 p.m., Jane Lute, assistant secretary general for peacekeeping, told the UN Security Council in New York.
Officials in the outpost called the Israeli army 10 times during those six hours, and each time an army official promised to have the bombing stopped, according to a preliminary UN report on the incident, which was shown to an Associated Press reporter.
ISRAELI BOMBING CAUSES MASSIVE OIL SPILL
MOTHER JONES - It looks like an eco-nightmare is taking place on the beaches of Lebanon. Reports coming in say beaches are being clogged with oil because five out of six oil tanks at the electricity plant in Jiyeh were destroyed by Israeli bombs. he Lebanese Embassy in Washington confirmed the spill. Marwan Francis, second secretary, told Mother Jones, "It is definitely the worst oil spill we [Lebanon] have ever faced."
ISRAEL BLOCKS UN INVESTIGATION OF ITS KILLING OF OBSERVERS
HAARETZ - Israel's ambassador to the United Nations ruled out Thursday major UN involvement in any potential international force in Lebanon, saying more professional and better-trained troops were needed for such a volatile situation. Dan Gillerman also said Israel would not allow the United Nations to join in an investigation of an Israeli air strike that demolished a post belonging to the current UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Four UN observers were killed in the Tuesday strike.
CLINTON'S PRIMARY OPPONENT CHALLENGES HER ISRAELI POSITION
JONATHAN TASINI, COMMON DREAMS - When I announced that I was entering the race for the US Senate, I began with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.' . . . The truth is that while people view talking about Israel- Palestine as the 'third rail' of politics in New York, the more I think about it, the more I realize that there are a growing number of people in the Jewish community who are willing to speak up, out of love for Israel, about the dreadful occupation and the never-ending violence that is spinning out of control, in large part because the United States - and politicians like Hillary Clinton - continue to blindly pursue a one-sided policy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a policy that is causing more death and sorrow for civilians on all sides of the conflict. . .
My father was born in then-Palestine. He fought in the Haganah (the Israeli underground) in the war of independence; my father's cousin, whose name I carry as a middle name, was killed in that war. I lived in Israel for seven years, during which I went through the 1973 war: a cousin of mine was killed in that war, leaving a young widow and two children, and his brother was wounded. My step-grandfather, an old man who was no threat to anyone, was killed by a Palestinian who took an axe to his head while he was sitting quietly on a park bench. Half my family still lives in Israel. I have seen enough bloodshed, tears, and parents burying their children to last many lifetimes.
For that reason, I believe passionately in a two-state solution, which includes a strong, independent, economically viable Palestinian state existing alongside a strong, independent, economically vibrant Israel. It is the only solution that will bring peace to the civilians who now live in fear of death raining down from above-either because of the missiles of Hezbollah or the bombs of Israeli aircraft. . .
I don't believe Senator Clinton is a true friend of Israel. A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would understand that employing collective punishment against people in Lebanon only embitters a population, possibly for generations, and that even a short-term military victory will be empty if it leaves behind a shattered country. . .
A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would never have stood before the 'security wall' in the West Bank, as Senator Clinton did, and praised it-even though it has been found to be illegal under international law and by the Israeli Supreme Court . .
A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would deplore the collective punishment employed by the Israeli army in Gaza. As Rabbi Michael Lerner has suggested, in the wake of the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power in Gaza, 'Instead of narrowly focusing on Hamas's capacity to make war, the Israelis chose the path of collective punishment, a frequently ineffective counterinsurgency policy used to eliminate public support for resistance movements". . .
As a Jew, I have always been proud of the Jewish concept of 'Tikkun Olam' or 'repairing the world.' I like to think that that is what brought so many Jews into the civil rights and labor movements in the 1960s and 1970s, and into the current anti-war movement-and, personally, guided me into the world of social justice work. I feel great sorrow that Israel is an occupier of another people and I believe that Israel can never be whole and can never be at peace until that occupation is ended in a just way. And I also believe that the concept of Tikkun Olam means that we must never be silent.
[Tasini is running against Hillary Clinton in the NY Democratic senatorial primary]
THE SICK MIND OF THE ISRAELI MILITARY
NATHANIEL ROSEN, JERUSALEM POST - The man who wrote the IDF code of ethics, Professor Asa Kasher, has indicated that in the current circumstances in southern Lebanon, provided the appropriate precautions are taken, it may be "morally justified" to obliterate areas with high concentrations of terrorists, even if civilian casualties result. "I don't know what the truth is about the circumstances," Kasher stressed. "But assuming that we warned the civilians and gave them enough time to leave, and that the civilians who remained chose, themselves, not to leave, then there is no reason to jeopardize the lives of the troops," he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. . .
Moshe Keynan, the father of a soldier killed in another conflict, said he was angry with the IDF for jeopardizing soldiers' safety to protect civilians. "We need to worry that our kids return to their parents and we need to worry about our family and sons and wives, not how we look on BBC," said Keynan.
Meir Indor, director-general of the Terror Victims Association, seconded Keynan's concerns. "There is an argument which is dealing with the subject of how much danger soldiers can be exposed to in order to save civilians. I think the world already decided that you don't sacrifice your soldiers in order to save enemy civilians," said Indor, whose organization is lobbying the military and the government against putting soldiers in unnecessarily dangerous situations. . .
Kasher told the Post that the IDF acts according to two sets of moral considerations. The first is the IDF's code of ethics, The Spirit of the IDF, which was written by Kasher and a committee of generals in the early 1990s. The guidelines enumerate such values as sanctity of human life, human dignity, and purity of arms. Additionally, the IDF takes international law into consideration, although Kasher noted that international law is directed more toward two countries fighting each other rather than a country fighting a guerrilla or terrorist group
FROM THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
EDITED BY SAM SMITH
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